EXPLAINER: What’s next in Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. death penalty case

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FILE – In this Dec. 3, 2003 file photo, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., left, is helped into a sheriff’s car after waiving extradition at the Polk County Courthouse in Crookston, Minn. A federal judge on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, threw out the death sentence for Alfonso Rodriguez Jr convicted in the 2003 slaying of Dru Sjodin, a North Dakota college student. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt File)

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s first and only federal capital punishment case is on hold after a federal judge threw out the death sentence given to Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. in 2006 in the death of college student Dru Sjodin.

Judge Ralph Erickson cited what he called misleading testimony from a medical examiner and failures by defense attorneys to say a new sentencing phase would be warranted.

Prosecutors have to decide whether they will appeal first.

That’s a question that comes as President Joe Biden personally opposes capital punishment and executions nationwide are on hold.

Sjodin’s family has said they support the death penalty for Rodriguez.

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