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Finley woman accused of murdering husband could face trial in 2015

Sherry Midstokke

FINLEY, N.D. – A 61-year-old woman accused of murdering her husband appeared Wednesday in state district court in Finley and is on track to proceed to trial next year.

Sherry Midstokke of Finley is charged with the murder of Lyle Midstokke, who was found dead on their bedroom floor in February, according to court records. An autopsy showed that Lyle Midstokke died of asphyxiation.

No witnesses were called to the stand in Midstokke’s preliminary hearing Wednesday because the defense agreed there was probable cause for the case to move to trial.

Defense attorney Blake Hankey said he plans to argue that Midstokke was mentally ill at the time of the alleged murder, but that he and his client may accept a plea agreement.

Midstokke would not be criminally responsible if at the time of the alleged murder, she lacked “substantial capacity to comprehend the harmful nature or consequences of the conduct, or the conduct is the result of a loss or serious distortion of the individual’s capacity to recognize reality,” according to North Dakota law.

Midstokke was the one who called 911 and told police she had just discovered her husband’s body after returning home from work, according to court records. But police said later that day that Midstokke admitted to “intentionally” killing her husband in an interview with police, court records indicate.

Midstokke is scheduled to appear for a pretrial hearing Dec. 31, at which time the defense will decide to either proceed to trial or enter a guilty plea.

The jury trial is scheduled for Feb. 17.