(AP) - A judge in the case of a slain college student from Minnesota says closing arguments by prosecutors did not jeopardize Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.'s right to a fair trial.
U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson ruled against Rodriguez's motion for a new trial during last week's sentencing hearing, when Rodriguez was formally sentenced to death. The judge filed a 111-page written order on Monday.
"The court has reviewed all of the issues raised by the defendant," Erickson wrote. "The court finds no error that would warrant a new trial."
A federal jury convicted Rodriguez, 53, a convicted sex offender, of kidnapping and killing Dru Sjodin, a University of North Dakota student from Pequot Lakes, Minn. The same jury voted to sentence Rodriguez to death.
Defense attorneys listed 30 complaints in their motion for a new trial, including prosecutorial misconduct during closing arguments in the guilt and sentencing phases.
At one point, U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley said a defense scenario was nothing more than a "lawyerly verbal cartoon."
Rodriguez's attorney has indicated he will make further appeals, which will most likely delay an execution for several years.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)