A recap of first few days of the murder trial of Salamah Pendleton, accused of causing the deaths of his mother and a Grand Forks police officer

In the first three days of the trial for Salamah Pendleton, a jury was seated and witnesses began to give testimony. Friday's testimony has not been included in this story due to the Herald's print deadline. For more in-depth coverage of the Pendleton trial, visit

Salamah Pendleton is escorted into a Grand Forks County courtroom by Grand Forks County Sheriff's deputies where he is on trial in the shooting death of Grand Forks police officer Cody Holte, his mother, Lola Moore and wounding Grand Forks County Sheriff's deputy Ron Nord. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

In the first three days of the trial for Salamah Pendleton, attorneys selected a 12-person jury and two alternates, gave their opening statements and began calling witnesses.

Pendleton is charged with two counts of murder for the deaths of Lola Moore, who is Pendleton's mother, and Officer Cody Holte. He also is charged with three counts of attempted murder for each of the other three officers in the apartment at the time of the shooting, as well as reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, terrorizing and possession of marijuana with intent to sell it.

Details from Friday's portion of the trial is not included in this story due to the Herald's print deadline. For more in-depth coverage of the Pendleton trial, continue to visit What follows is a recap of the trial's first week.

During jury selection, defense attorney Steven Mottinger questioned prospective jurors about a wide range of topics, including what their attitudes are toward individuals' right to own guns, their right to protect their homes, and their approach to conflict resolution, especially when the two conflicting parties have opposing views of an event. Grand Forks County Assistant State's Attorney Ashlei Neufeld asked prospective jurors about their attitude toward marijuana.

On the second day of jury selection, when nearly half of the prospective jurors were dismissed after stating that they believe Pendleton to be guilty, attorneys placed an emphasis on the presumption of innocence, reminding prospective jurors that Pendleton is innocent until the state proves he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Almost no jurors were ultimately selected from this pool of people.


In opening statements on Thursday, July 1, Grand Forks County Deputy State's Attorney Carmell Mattison told the jury that she expects evidence will show that bullet fragments recovered from the bodies of Moore and Holte will match Pendleton's weapon. Mottinger countered that Pendleton did not intend to deny that he fired the rifle, but Mottinger urged the jury to remember that there are two sides to every story and to wait to hear all the evidence before making up their minds. Pendleton is expected to testify.

On the first day of testimony, three witnesses were called. Andrew Horge, the owner of the apartment building, testified that he led the deputies to the apartment and let them in the front door. He described how when gunfire erupted inside, he ran to warn other tenants to stay inside. When Holte and GFPD Cpl. Pat Torok arrived, Horge pointed them toward the apartment and watched them go inside. He also described the extensive damage done to his apartment building and a neighboring building.

Grand Forks Police Officer Heather Hopkins described how she responded to a call and helped secure a perimeter around the area. When Pendleton was loaded into an ambulance and taken to the Altru emergency room, she accompanied him.

And Grand Forks County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Buchmeier described the scene he found as the first officer inside the building after the shooting had ended.

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Salamah Pendleton.

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