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Grand Forks murder suspects plead not guilty

The two defendants accused of murdering Grand Forks resident Jose Luis "Joe" Lopez in June pleaded not guilty Monday morning in state district court.

The two defendants accused of murdering Grand Forks resident Jose Luis “Joe” Lopez in June pleaded not guilty Monday morning in state district court.

Delvin Lamont Shaw, 30, of Winston-Salem, N.C., and Dametrian Marcel Welch, 18, of Grand Forks, both entered not guilty pleas. The pair is scheduled to appear for pretrial conferences at 2:30 p.m on Jan. 8.

At Welch’s arraignment Monday in Grand Forks, his attorney Ted Sandberg asked the court to lower Welch’s bail from $500,000 to $50,000, saying Welch does not pose a flight risk and has sufficient ties to the community.

Sandberg also noted Welch went to police the day after Lopez’s death to give a statement.

District Judge Sonja Clapp had denied Welch a bond reduction in July, citing lack of ties to the community.


Welch, who is originally from Winston-Salem, told the court Monday he and his family have lived in Grand Forks for about four years. Sandberg said Welch’s mother and stepfather live and work in town. Welch’s family was present at the hearing, seated behind the defense.

After consulting with counsel off the record at the bench Monday, Clapp rejected the defense’s request for a bond reduction.

The court also set a hearing for Thursday at 10 a.m. to review Shaw’s bond and a request he previously made for a speedy trial. Shaw is being held without bond.


The two men are both charged with murder after they allegedly broke into the Grand Forks apartment Lopez shared with his fiancée and their 2-year-old daughter in the early morning hours of June 24.

A physical struggle broke out between Lopez and one of the intruders, whom police believe to be Shaw, during which Lopez was shot three times.

Lopez was transported to Altru Hospital where he died from his wounds. Police suspect Shaw was the one who pulled the trigger.

In North Dakota, murder is a class AA felony punishable by life in prison without parole.


Shaw also is charged with burglary, a class B felony, and Welch also is charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, a class B felony.

A class B felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

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