Fargo man charged with murdering ex-girlfriend, torching apartment pleads not guilty

Sheldon Davis appears for a hearing in Cass County District Court on Wednesday, Oct. 9. Davis is charged with murdering Denise Anderson. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO — A man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and setting fire to his apartment pleaded not guilty Wednesday, Oct. 9, to felony counts of murder, arson and endangering by fire or explosion.

Sheldon Davis, 44, faces charges in connection with the death of 52-year-old Denise Anderson. Anderson's body was found at Davis' apartment on Aug. 1 after a fire was reported in the apartment building at 417 12th St. N. in Fargo.

Davis' attorney, David Ogren, argued that Davis' bail should be reduced to $500,000 from the $1 million bond that was set at an August court hearing. Cass County District Judge Tristan Van de Streek denied the defense's request.

According to charging documents :

A friend of Davis' told police that Davis said he had done "something bad" and that he had started a fire in his apartment by leaving a stove on.


The friend, Lenny Duwayne Wilds II, said Davis had previously talked about doing this and about killing Anderson because of pending domestic and sex assault allegations she had made against him.

When questioned by police, Davis denied telling Wilds about the fire. Davis said he left Anderson sleeping in the apartment the morning of the incident because Anderson didn't know he lost his job and he wanted to give the impression of going to work, according to charging documents.

Davis denied knowing anything about the fire or Anderson's death in an interview with The Forum . In that interview, Davis said he intended to plead not guilty if he were charged.

The maximum penalty for the Class AA murder charge Davis is facing is life in prison without parole. His next court appearance is slated for Jan. 9.

Denise Marie Anderson
Denise Anderson

What To Read Next
“We have heard from our citizens throughout this process,” Commissioner Denise Kolpack said. “I certainly am taking their input to heart on this case. It’s clear that a majority have spoken.”
Artificial intelligence can now act as an artist or a writer. Does that mean AI is ready to play doctor? Many institutions, including Mayo Clinic, believe that AI is ready to become a useful tool.
Fargo police were first called to the neighborhood on reports of a man who had fired a round and pointed a gun at people he knew inside the residence.
'Northern Narratives,' coordinated by the Fargo Public Library and supported by the Friends of the Fargo Public Library, is accepting submissions in fiction, nonfiction and poetry.