(AP) - The sister of the man convicted of kidnapping and killing college student Dru Sjodin says her brother needs mental health treatment and not death by lethal injection.
Ileanna Noyes spoke Sunday at North Dakota State University, in a panel discussion sponsored by the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, which opposes the death penalty.
Noyes is the sister of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., who was convicted and sentenced to death by federal court jurors in Fargo for the kidnapping and killing of Sjodin, 22, a University of North Dakota student from Pequot Lakes, Minn.
Noyes said a juror approached her after Sunday's talk and said he regretted his decision.
"He said it's been eating at him," Noyes said. "I told him I didn't hold any grudges against him."
“The only crime my family is guilty of is the crime of unconditional love.”Ileanna Noyes, sister of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.
Sjodin's family recently reached a $300,000 settlement with the state of Minnesota over claims that authorities there were partly responsible for Sjodin's death by releasing Rodriguez, a convicted rapist, after he finished serving a 23-year sentence for stabbing and trying to abduct a woman.
A state psychologist had decided against recommending Rodriguez for civil commitment.
Noyes said Sunday that she made phone calls to try to keep her brother in prison or in a treatment program. She said her family could not afford a halfway house.
After her brother's arrest, Noyes said, she tried to help police and the Sjodin family. She recorded a conversation with Rodriguez in jail to try to help authorities. Her husband, Dan, joined the search party to look for Sjodin. She said her family has received death threats and has needed authorities to keep watch at their Crookston, Minnesota, home.
"The only crime my family is guilty of is the crime of unconditional love," Noyes said.
Noyes said her family supports punishment for her brother's crime, but she believes the death penalty is cruel, racially motivated and tortures the defendant's family.
"I see him as an ill man who needs mental health care, not a lethal injection," she said of her brother. "I sincerely believe he does not want to be this way."
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)