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Arguments on Appeal in Bankers’ Shooting Deaths

September 10, 1985

ST. PAUL (AP) _ A young man convicted in the shooting deaths of two bankers whose institution had foreclosed on his father’s farm deserves a new trial, his lawyer told the state Supreme Court Monday.

Ann Lewis, who represents Steven Jenkins, told the high court the jury that convicted Jenkins in 1984 should have been sequestered.

State law requires sequestration unless the defendant consents to let the jury go home, she said, adding that no such consent was given.

Prosecuturs claimed that, since the defense didn’t object to the arrangement at the time, there was implied consent.

Jenkins was 18 years old when found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Rudolph Blythe, president of Buffalo Ridge State Bank in Ruthton, and second-degree murder in the death of loan officer Deems ″Toby″ Thulin.

The two were shot in September 1983 after being lured to a 10-acre dairy farm near Ruthton, in southwestern Minnesota, that Jenkins’ father, James, had lost to Blythe’s bank after going bankrupt in 1980.

The defense has contended that the two men were shot by the elder Jenkins, who apparently killed himself in Texas three days after the slayings. The son turned himself in after his father’s death.

The high court took the case under advisement. It is expected to be several months before a decision is reached.

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