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Man charged with murder in shooting near Bismarck mall

Benjamin Williams faces up to life in prison if convicted of killing Christopher Sebastian.

Benjamin Williams.jpeg
Benjamin Williams.
Burleigh Morton Detention Center photo
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BISMARCK — A 27-year-old Mandan man is suspected of fatally shooting another man near Kirkwood Mall in Bismarck.

Benjamin Isaiah Williams was charged Thursday, Oct. 13, with murder and unlawful possession of a firearm by a violent felon in Burleigh County District Court.

Williams was being held Thursday evening at the North Dakota State Penitentiary, according to a news release from the Bismarck Police Department. Court records did not list an attorney for him.

Police alleged Williams shot and killed 39-year-old Christopher Sebastian of Bismarck on Oct. 4 while Sebastian was in his car in an apartment parking lot in the 200 block of East Arbor Avenue, just west of Kirkwood Mall. Officers found Sebastian at about 11:30 p.m. that day with a gunshot wound to his head, according to court documents.

Investigators recovered a handgun and black hooded sweatshirt with blood on it near the Bismarck Hotel, which is just north of the apartment parking lot where the shooting happened, court documents said.

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Williams was arrested Oct. 5 at a house in the 800 block of West Avenue A after he was identified as a person of interest in the case.

In an interview, Williams told police he was with Sebastian from about 7 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 4, court documents said.

Investigators said gun residue was found on Williams' hand. Surveillance footage showed Williams walking from the scene of the killing to the Bismarck Hotel, court documents said.

He was transferred to the State Penitentiary for a parole violation, police said.

He had been released earlier this year after serving time for aggravated assault and tampering with evidence in a 2017 Burleigh County case, according to a criminal complaint.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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