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16-year-old charged as adult for fatal shooting at Bismarck motel

Jesse Taylor Jr. faces life in prison if convicted of killing Maurice Thunder Shield.

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BISMARCK — A 16-year-old accused of fatally shooting a 28-year-old at a Bismarck motel will be tried in adult court.

Burleigh County State’s Attorney Julie Lawyer confirmed Thursday, Oct. 27, to The Forum that Jesse Taylor Jr.’s case was moved from juvenile court. The Mandan teenager is scheduled to appear Friday in Burleigh County District Court on felony charges of murder and aggravated assault.

If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Taylor is accused of killing Maurice Thunder Shield of McLaughlin, South Dakota, on Sept. 23 at the Motel 6, 2433 State St. The Forum was unable to obtain court documents that would detail what happened, but police said Thunder Shield was found around 12:40 a.m. at the motel with a gunshot wound to his chest.

Witnesses said Taylor shot Thunder Shield and fled, according to the Bismarck Police Department. Taylor was arrested on Sept. 24 in Warren, Minnesota.

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A motive in the case has not been made public.

Police did not initially release the name of the suspect because he is a child. North Dakota law prohibits the release of a child’s name if they are charged with a crime unless their case is moved out of juvenile court.

Murder charges are typically prosecuted in adult court, even if the defendant is a child.

A message left for Taylor's attorney, Justin Balzer, was not returned Thursday.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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