Arthur Prince Kollie, 22, initially pleaded not guilty Monday, Oct. 25, in Cass County District Court to felony counts of murder, robbery and aggravated assault.
Kollie met with his attorney and reappeared before Judge John Irby a half hour after his initial preliminary hearing Monday, defense attorney Nicholas Thornton told The Forum. In the second hearing, Kollie entered an Alford plea to all charges, meaning he will maintain his innocence but acknowledged prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him.
Thornton declined to say why Kollie changed his mind. A sentencing hearing was not set Monday, as a presentencing investigation must be completed first.
Victim Jupiter Paulsen's father, Robert Paulsen, attended the hearing and heard Kollie initially plead not guilty. Twenty minutes later, he was preparing to eat lunch when he got a telephone call saying to return quickly.
"Even the police didn't get into the room to hear it. The prosecutors barely got into the room by the end of it," said Paulsen, who told The Forum he remains cautiously optimistic about Kollie's guilty plea.
"In all honesty, I want this over with, but I know I have to keep my guard up because I know it's not over yet," he said. "He went from saying guilty to not guilty. I'm wondering what is the hidden agenda with this."
The charges came after a sanitation worker saw Kollie attack Jupiter shortly before 7 a.m. June 4 at 4340 13th Ave. SW in Fargo. Surveillance footage showed Jupiter walking east around 6:30 a.m. that morning in the parking lot of Party City. She was with another person until they got to the building's northeast corner, Fargo Police Detective Mark Voigtschild said Monday in court.
A man later identified as Kollie was seen getting up and then assaulting Jupiter in an attack that lasted nearly 30 minutes, Voigtschild said.
The sanitation worker, Patrick Peterson, arrived around 6:58 a.m. and saw Kollie strangling Jupiter, with one hand around her neck and the other over her nose, Voigtschild said. Kollie ran from the scene, according to court documents.
Peterson attempted life-saving efforts as he called emergency crews to the scene, he previously told The Forum. Jupiter was taken to Sanford Medical Center, where she died four days later.
An autopsy said the cause of death was asphyxiation by strangulation complicated by multiple sharp-force injuries, Voigtschild said. She was stabbed more than 20 times, according to court documents.
Other video surveillance footage showed Kollie walking around the area without a shirt, including into the shower area of the Petro gas station at 4510 19th Ave. S., Voigtschild said. He also walked into the Walmart on 13th Avenue, where he took clothes off a rack without paying for them and headed into a bathroom to change.
Officers later found Kollie's pants and shoes with bloodstains in the bathroom, court documents said. Kollie's and Jupiter's backpacks, along with the 14-year-old's identification and Kollie's blood-stained white shirt, were found in a dumpster at 1810 49th St. S. near The Home Depot, Voigtschild said.
A knife was found in a separate dumpster, Voigtschild said.
Kollie was arrested June 4 in downtown Fargo near Brew Bird, a restaurant at 30 N. University Drive, Voigtschild said.
Kollie told police he took a shower at Petro and went to Walmart and downtown Fargo, Voigtschild said. Kollie said he didn't remember attacking Jupiter, according to court documents.
Kollie acknowledged using meth the afternoon of June 3 and not sleeping since using, court documents said.
Investigators have found no evidence that Kollie and Jupiter knew each other.
Kollie underwent an evaluation to determine if he was fit for trial. The contents of that document remain under seal since they are medical records.
During Monday's first hearing, Kollie said he didn't know what happened and that he wanted to get help.
"I'm just tired," he said before being interrupted by Thornton. After Kollie's attorney whispered something to him, he entered the initial not guilty plea.
Kollie faces life in prison without parole.
In a separate case, Kollie has pleaded not guilty to attacking a Cass County Jail guard in July while in custody in connection to the attack on Jupiter. His next hearing in that case is Nov. 3.