BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Chad Isaak has appealed his murder convictions to the North Dakota Supreme Court, arguing errors in his trial should prompt a reversal of his criminal convictions.

During an August 2021 trial, Isaak was convicted of killing Robert Fakler, Adam Fuehrer, Bill Cobb and Lois Cobb in April 2019 at the RJR Maintenance and Management building in Mandan.

In December 2021, he was sentenced to four life sentences without the possibility of parole.

In a brief filed June 30, Isaak’s lawyer, Kiara C. Kraus-Parr, outlined four areas where she believes the trial court erred:

  • The court denied Isaak’s constitutional right to a public trial by holding numerous bench conferences during the trial without creating a record of the conferences. Some of the conferences were later summarized and added to the court record, but Isaak’s lawyer argues that does not satisfy the need for a specific record of the discussions.
  • The court improperly limited the public’s access to public trial documents. Specifically, Isaak’s attorney argues trial documents such as autopsy photos and other information used at trial to convict Isaak were closed to public access. She argues there were insufficient grounds to close access to the documents to overcome the presumption of openness of case records.
  • The court violated Isaak’s constitutional right to be personally present during jury selection. Isaak’s attorney points to an instance where the trial judge dismissed a juror without Isaak being present in the courtroom at the time of the dismissal.
  • The court conducted voir dire (essentially, jury selection) off the record, making a transcript of jury selection unavailable. Isaak’s attorney points to instances where three potential jurors requested to be released from jury duty while Isaak was not present in court.

Based on these errors, Isaak’s attorney is asking the North Dakota Supreme Court to “reverse the criminal judgment of the trial court and Mr. Isaak’s convictions.”

Prosecutors in the case have until July 30 to respond to the appeal.

You can read the full brief at the state supreme court website.