A retrial began Monday for a southwestern North Dakota man accused of crashing a vehicle more than two years ago in rural Nelson County and subsequently causing the death of a 23-year-old man.
Jordan Lee Borland, of Lisbon, could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of vehicular homicide. A jury found him guilty after an October trial, but the decision was thrown out after evidence of jury misconduct surfaced.
Court documents detail text messages sent by 23-year-old Kevin Lemna, of Enderlin, the night of the crash. Lemna said he was afraid to be in the car while Borland was driving because he couldn’t “even keep it straight on a straight road,” according to the court document. Lemna was killed when the car rolled over several hours after the messages were sent.
Lemna worked at Tri-State Roofing and enjoyed working on vehicles, listening to music, drawing, going to bonfires and spending time with friends, his obituary said.
Borland was southbound in a 2012 Dodge Ram on state Highway 1 about 8 miles south of Pekin, according to an affidavit for his arrest. He missed a curve and rolled the car sometime between 4 and 6:30 a.m. on April 13, 2017, the affidavit said.
Lemna was dead by the time police arrived and Borland was taken to a hospital, the court document said. Neither man was wearing his seatbelt, according to the crash report.
Pekin is about 75 miles west of Grand Forks.
Borland was driving nearly 80 mph in a 65-mph zone and his blood alcohol content measured .065 about five hours after the crash, according to a crash report. His BAC was likely over the legal limit of .08 during the crash and court documents estimate it may have been between .097 and .127 when the vehicle overturned.
Photos taken at the scene show a case of beer in the back seat and cans strewn across the wreckage.
Jurors were handed the case Oct. 4 after a three-day trial. They deliberated until about 5 p.m. and returned the next day to reach a verdict, according to a motion filed by Borland’s attorney.
Lawyers were allowed to contact jurors the next week and found evidence of misconduct, the motion said.
One of the jurors reportedly printed off the definition of reasonable doubt during recess and brought it into deliberation. Another juror spoke about Borland’s criminal history and said he had a drinking problem, the motion said. Prior criminal history was not brought up during trial.
Borland was cited three times for misdemeanor consumption or possession of alcohol when he was underage. He was issued three traffic tickets during 2018 while the vehicular homicide charge was pending.
A judge declared in February that there should be a new trial.
The retrial began Monday and is scheduled to conclude July 16.