Prosecution rests in murder trial for Fargo man accused of shooting cousin, roommate

FARGO - The prosecution rested its case Friday against a Fargo man accused of murder in the shooting death of his roommate and cousin, who he believed was secretly trying to poison him.
Christopher Paul Hampton takes notes during a voir dire hearing in Cass County District Court in Fargo, N.D., on Monday, July 13, 2015 during a jury selection process for the trial in which he is accused of committing Class AA murder. File photo. Nick Wagner / The Forum
Christopher Paul Hampton takes notes during a voir dire hearing in Cass County District Court in Fargo, N.D., on Monday, July 13, 2015 during a jury selection process for the trial in which he is accused of committing Class AA murder. File photo. Nick Wagner / The Forum

FARGO - The prosecution rested its case Friday against a Fargo man accused of murder in the shooting death of his roommate and cousin, who he believed was secretly trying to poison him.

University of North Dakota pathologist Dr. Mark Koponen testified Friday in Cass County District Court at Christopher Hampton's murder that his autopsy of 28-year-old Randall Doehner showed no gunpowder or soot left on the dead man's skin near entry wounds from the .22-caliber bullets used to shoot Doehner in the back of the head and back.

That means Doehner was shot from a distance of one to two feet, or even farther away, Koponen testified.

Hampton is claiming he shot Doehner in self-defense after Doehner cornered him in the small, cramped kitchen of their north Fargo apartment, pointing a gun at him.

He told 911 dispatchers he was able to wrest the gun away from Doehner when a piece fell out of the gun and shot him as Doehner was turning away.

A bruise on Doehner's eye likely wasn't from a fist, but rather from bleeding from the brain after one bullet lodged itself there, Koponen told jurors. Another bullet was found in Doehner's heart.

Scabs on the dead man's knuckles were from at least several hours before the shooting, Kaponen testified.

Hampton had been seen several times at area hospitals for testing in the days before the June 26 shooting last year, believing Doehner had been slowly poisoning him.

Doctors who ran tests on Hampton found no signs of poison in system, but they did find traces of marijuana and amphetamines.

The defense is set to begin presenting its case Monday.