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Justices: Hearing should be held for man convicted of murder

May 18, 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Bismarck man who was prohibited from withdrawing his guilty plea 12 years after he allegedly killed his wife will get another chance to state his case.

The North Dakota Supreme Court said in a ruling filed Thursday that Russell Craig should have been allowed to argue his motion at a hearing that was scheduled in October 2018 and then cancelled. A week later, Judge Bruce Romanick denied Craig’s motion to withdraw his plea.

Craig pleaded guilty to murder in the June 2006 stabbing death of Pamela Sue Johnson-Craig. He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Justices say Romanick erroneously cancelled the hearing “without explanation.” The high court ordered that the hearing be rescheduled.

Justices denied a separate motion by Craig to replace Romanick.

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