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Why a Fargo murder case is now being delayed for a third time

Daniel Habiger appears in Cass County District Court on Wednesday, May 9, 2018.David Samson / The Forum

FARGO – The case of a Fargo man accused of murder was postponed once again on Thursday, June 7, after the judge allowed time for another mental health evaluation.

Daniel Habiger, 29, who’s charged with killing 32-year-old Jarryd Heis, will undergo an independent mental health evaluation if a request is approved by the North Dakota Commission on Legal Counsel for Indigents.

Scott Brand, Habiger’s lawyer, said he had been in touch with an independent evaluator and would be submitting the request to the commission Thursday.

Habiger’s case was postponed twice before to allow time for the North Dakota State Hospital to complete two mental health evaluations, one to determine whether he’s criminally responsible for his actions and a second to see whether he can assist in his own defense.

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The results of those evaluations are confidential because they deal with mental health, Brand said.

Cass County District Judge Frank Racek set Habiger’s preliminary hearing for 1:30 p.m. July 16.

Habiger was arrested March 2 after allegedly killing Heis during a fight in Habiger’s north Fargo apartment, court documents stated. Police said Habiger called 911 from a nearby gas station, saying he was involved in an altercation that killed a man.

Habiger told detectives that he, Heis and another man were at Habiger’s apartment drinking alcohol. Habiger said Heis verbally threatened him and his family and that scared him, according to court documents.

Habiger told police he “choked out” Heis and kicked him in the head after he choked him, because Heis was still moving. Habiger said he killed Heis because Heis would not stop fighting and that he choked him too long, court documents stated.

Habiger remains in custody at Cass County Jail.

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