MOORHEAD — A 23-year-old will be released from custody after he helped cover up the death of a 19-year-old Moorhead woman who was allegedly killed and dismembered by her roommate.

David Marvin Erno of Moorhead cried as he apologized during his Monday, May 5, sentencing hearing in Clay County District Court. He previously pleaded guilty to aiding an offender after the fact in second-degree murder.

Judge Amber Gustafson followed recommendations that Erno should be sentenced to time served. However, Erno could be sent to prison for up to three years if he violates the conditions of his plea agreement, which includes serving five years of supervised probation.

Erno is the second person to be sentenced in connection to the April 3, 2020, death of 19-year-old Dystynee Avery. Ethan Martin Broad faces murder charges for allegedly killing Avery, his roommate, dragging her body to a garage, dismembering her and throwing her remains in a dumpster.

Dystynee Avery
Dystynee Avery

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Avery’s remains were found in the Clay County landfill three weeks later.

Andrea Catherine Payne, a 27-year-old who also received credit for time served for the same charge Erno pleaded guilty to, admitted to bringing Erno to her and Broad’s apartment after the killing. However, she denied asking Erno to destroy evidence, including Avery’s computer.

Erno admitted to taking and wiping the computer clean. Like Payne, he acknowledged he lied to police about the case.

“I’m sorry that Dystynee is gone, sorry I took her computer, sorry I didn’t tell anybody about it and lied to police,” Erno said.

Erno’s actions were worse than killing Avery, the woman’s mother, Doreen Avery, said.

Gustafson pointed out that Erno initially chose not to tell police Avery had been killed, which left the Avery family wondering what happened.

“You could have assisted in putting an end to that,” the judge said in calling Erno’s actions selfish.

Broad is trying to withdraw his guilty plea. Judge Tammy Merkins is expected to decide whether she’ll allow that to happen or if he’ll be sentenced by the end of the month.

A third person facing accomplice charges, Brandon Everett Leroy Erbstoesser, 34, of Fargo, is awaiting trial.