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Murder charge dropped under plea deal in fatal Sargent County hit-and-run

WAHPETON, N.D. -- Prosecutors on Thursday dropped a felony murder charge against a Brampton man in a hit-and-run death in rural Sargent County last year. Dakota Sutton, 23, pleaded guilty to three charges in the death of 28-year-old Reavis Dandri...

 

WAHPETON, N.D. -- Prosecutors on Thursday dropped a felony murder charge against a Brampton man in a hit-and-run death in rural Sargent County last year.

Dakota Sutton, 23, pleaded guilty to three charges in the death of 28-year-old Reavis Dandridge as part of a plea agreement.

He faces up to 20 years and 30 days in prison for felony manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident involving death and driving under the influence.

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With heightened security in the law enforcement center in Wahpeton, Sutton was in court but brought in through a back door.

Prosecutors say Sutton forced Dandridge out of his pickup on a gravel road in Oakes, then ran Dandridge down and left him for dead in April 2013.

In court, Sutton admitted to hitting Dandridge but argued that he didn't swerve to hit him and that he returned to the scene sooner than prosecutors say.

Sutton didn't get Dandridge to the hospital until two hours later.

Attorneys said Thursday was a difficult day for both sides.

β€œHe feels that the victim, Mr. Dandridge, was his friend, and he feels bad about that,” defense attorney Don Krassin said of Sutton. β€œHe was driving under the influence, which was reckless, but it was an accident that it happened, but he recognized under the definition of law, it’s manslaughter. It was an appropriate plea, and he did fail to report the accident; he acknowledges that.”

Prosecuting attorney Lyle Bopp said, β€œI know the family would have liked more, but we could have had less than that with a jury.”

The judge ordered a presentence investigation.

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