Two sentenced for Valley City church arson
VALLEY CITY, N.D. -- Little more than a year after an Oct. 21, 2013, arson claimed Faith Lutheran Church in Valley City, the two individuals responsible were sentenced. Andrew Michael Miklas, who is 25 or 26, Fargo, and Nicole Ellen Lindermann, w...
VALLEY CITY, N.D. -- Little more than a year after an Oct. 21, 2013, arson claimed Faith Lutheran Church in Valley City, the two individuals responsible were sentenced.
Andrew Michael Miklas, who is 25 or 26, Fargo, and Nicole Ellen Lindermann, who is 19 or 20, Kathryn, were sentenced by Southeast District Judge James D. Hovey at the Barnes County Courthouse after changing their pleas to guilty on Aug. 26.
Miklas received 8 1/2 years in the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations with credit for one year served. Upon release he will serve five years of supervised probation. He was also assessed $875 in fees, $6,000 in restitution and another $50 to cover cash and wine that were stolen from the church. Restitution for any other damage to the church is being left open for 60 days in case further restitution for more damage is sought.
Lindermann was sentenced to 365 days in jail, all suspended, and five years supervised probation. All fines and fees were waived, but restitution in her case was also left open for 60 days.Barnes County Assistant State’s Attorney Carl Martineck said Miklas’ sentence was a joint recommendation between himself, Miklas and Steven Mottinger, the defense attorney. However, Martineck said he wanted Lindermann to serve 366 days in prison.
“There was some testimony from psychologists at the sentencing hearing and also some argument from the defense attorney that she was a victim of Stockholm syndrome, and I know the judge had heard that argument from a prior case in Griggs County,” Martineck said. “So it sounds like he’s going to give her an opportunity to seek rehabilitation. I guess personally there were other factors that I was looking at, but I do respect the judge’s decision.”
According to court documents, Miklas and Lindermann committed a burglary at the church in downtown Valley City during the late evening of Oct. 20 or early morning of Oct. 21. They later returned to set the fire to destroy evidence. Damage to the church was estimated at $2.5 million, and the building has since been demolished. The church has retained Moorhead, Minn.-based YHR Partners to build a new church across the street to the east from its old location.