Fargo man convicted of killing 14-year-old claims video of teen led to unfair trial
Arthur Kollie's attorney argued that testimony from Jupiter Paulsen's parents and a video the girl recorded created sympathy that prejudiced the defense.
FARGO — A Fargo man claims he was denied a fair trial for killing a 14-year-old when prosecutors showed jurors a self-recorded video of the girl, creating sympathy for her and prejudice against the defendant.
The reasoning is one of several laid out in an appeal brief for 24-year-old Arthur Prince Kollie. He is serving life without parole after a Cass County jury found him guilty in September of murder, robbery and aggravated assault in the death of Jupiter Paulsen.
Court-appointed appeals attorney Kiara Costa Kraus-Parr filed the appeal brief for Kollie on Feb. 22. Prosecutors had not filed their response as of Wednesday, March 15.
Kollie went through an eight-day trial, during which prosecutors claimed he beat and robbed Jupiter early June 4, 2021, in the Fargo Party City parking lot. Video footage showed a nearly 30-minute attack in which Jupiter was stabbed 25 times, punched and kicked. Kollie did not stop and flee until after a Fargo city sanitation worker happened upon the scene.
Kollie tried to hide evidence of the crime by taking a shower at a gas station and dumping his bloodstained clothes, Jupiter’s belongings and a knife, prosecutors said.
He was arrested several hours after the assault. Jupiter died at a hospital June 13, 2021.
Prosecutors alleged Kollie robbed Jupiter to fuel a meth addiction, but his defense attorney, Eric Baumann, claimed Kollie lacked criminal responsibility because he suffered a psychotic break during the attack. Kollie told police he didn’t remember the attack after ingesting meth the night before.
Jurors deliberated for two hours before returning guilty verdicts.
One of the arguments in the appeal surrounds testimony Jupiter’s mother and father gave during the trial . Antonia Johnson and Robert Paulsen said their daughter was a kind, talented and generous girl who would help anyone.
"She was the heart and soul of so many people," Johnson said as she cried on the stand.
Prosecutors also played a video Jupiter posted to social media. She said in the footage that she hoped people were having a good day and told them to be themselves.
The defense objected to the moves, but prosecutors said the video showed her view on life and humanized her.
Kraus-Parr argued that the court denied Kollie’s right to a fair trial by allowing evidence that invoked sympathy for the victim or created prejudice against Kollie.
“This is an improper purpose, as it neither tends to prove or disprove a material fact at issue,” the attorney said.
Kraus-Parr also argued that the court held multiple bench conferences off the record or without recording discussions between attorneys and Judge John Irby.
It’s not uncommon for attorneys to discuss matters with a judge in private, but the conversations should be recorded so a defendant can review what was said, Kraus-Parr argued.
“The public at large also has no way to ensure that Mr. Kollie was treated fairly, that the judge and prosecution acted professionally and responsibly, which are some of the aims of the public trial right,” Kraus-Parr said.
In a third argument, Kraus-Parr questioned whether jurors were given proper instructions on the murder charge. Typically, intentionally or knowingly causing the death of another person is a separate element than causing the death of another human being under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.
In Kollie’s case, Kraus-Parr argued, those two statements were improperly combined into one jury instruction.
The appeal also challenged whether Kollie faced double jeopardy when prosecutors charged him with murder and aggravated assault for one attack. Irby denied Baumann's motion to dismiss one of the charges, despite arguments that finding Kollie guilty on both counts would violate his Fifth Amendment rights.
Prosecutors Ryan Younggren and Katherine Naumann were unavailable for comment this week.