Prosecutors want life for man who killed Grand Forks police officer; shooter to argue for release after 25 years

43-year-old Salamah Pendleton will be sentenced Friday, Oct. 8.

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GRAND FORKS — After a two-week trial, a jury convicted Salamah Pendleton of two counts of murder for the shooting death of his own mother and Grand Forks police officer Cody Holte.

He was also convicted of trying to kill two other police officer during the eviction at his apartment in 2019.

Prosecutors say it was an ambush attack on officers.

Pendleton had barricaded the door to his apartment, and prosecutors say he had a modified assault rifle, hundreds of rounds of ammo and was wearing a metal jacket.

He fired four dozen shots at officers in a matter of seconds, accidentally killing his mother.


Pendleton also shot Deputy Ron Nord twice, who survived.

Prosecutors will ask Judge Donald Hager to sentence Pendleton to life without parole, "to hold the Defendant fully accountable for his reprehensible conduct," saying it was only 'by the grace of God" the three other officers survived.

Pendleton's lawyer calls that the "simple" sentence.

He says Pendleton has expressed remorse and willingness to change.

He will argue Pendleton should be sentenced to prison, but be eligible for parole in 25 years when he is 68.

Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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