Chad Isaak, the man accused of killing four employees of RJR Maintenance and Management in Mandan last April, is seen in a courtroom for the first time in over a year.
During the hearing, Isaak said he wanted to speak. However, Judge Reich reminded Isaak anything he said could be used against him.
These latest developments come as the case is still months away from trial.
It was back in November that KX News got the last update on Isaak’s case. His lawyers were asking for large amounts of evidence to be thrown out ahead of the trial. The defense filed court documents asking for suppression of evidence, along with a change of venue.
Seven months later, arguments were heard for and against these two motions at the Morton County Courthouse.
The first, for suppression of evidence, included throwing out searches done of Isaak’s vehicle, which the defense says was not done with probable cause. Isaak’s lawyers add this “tainted evidence led to a chain reaction of evidence” in the case.
“The main issue would be to Mr. Isaak’s vehicle, the time that was searched and the lack of actual evidence that was documented and presented to the judge at the time, that connected the individual that was seen coming out of RJR to the individual that was seen getting into the white pickup truck,” Defense Attorney Robert Quick argued.
The state argues there were six pages of probable cause written by a Mandan Police Officer prior to the vehicle search. The state says a search warrant or consent was given for every search done.
“The defense’s argument seems to be that because there isn’t somebody following a murder suspect and there’s not an unbroken chain of evidence, that that isn’t probable cause. Well, that isn’t the probable cause standard. That’s a wholly unrealistic standard. Very few people committing a crime carry a camera crew along with them,” explained Morton County Assistant State’s Attorney Gabrielle Goter.
Goter says between eye witness testimony and surveillance video, there was sufficient evidence to get a search warrant for the vehicle, Isaak’s home, and his person– leading to all other evidence collected.
The second request was to move the trial out of Morton County. Quick says it’s because of the “extensive media coverage” of the murder and Isaak’s arrest.
“Mere publicity is not a reason for it. I think there has been the showing that the court has satisfied that so great a prejudice exists in the transferring county, that the defendant cannot obtain a fair and impartial trial here,” Quick elaborated.
Goter responded, “The state has a right to present charges in the county in which they occur, and the people of that county have a right as jurors to decide that outcome.”
One piece of the motion to suppress was dropped by the defense prior to today’s hearing, that includes evidence found during searches of Isaak’s business Facebook account.
Judge David Reich says a ruling on both the venue change and suppression of evidence will be made at a later date.