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'Rips you apart:' Fargo sanitation worker opens up about guilty verdict in teen's murder

Even though the dumpster has been removed from Patrick Peterson's route, every Friday he times himself to see how fast he can get there wondering if he could have stopped the murder.

Patrick Peterson
As a courtesy the city of Fargo has removed the dumpster near where a teen was murdered from Patrick Peterson's route. He interrupted the murder as it was happening.
Matt Henson / WDAY
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FARGO — Patrick Peterson says he will never get over what he saw one June morning, and it's changed his Fridays forever.

It was in an alley right next to Party City last summer where Peterson saw Arthur Kollie standing over 14-year-old Jupiter Paulsen in an attack police say had been going on for close to half an hour.

"I still see the blood on the pavement, its a reoccurring thing, it's never going to change, regardless how much they try to clean it up,I don't think it's going to change anything, I'm always going to see that regardless," he said.

Even though the city has taken this dumpster off Peterson's route as a mental courtesy to him, every Friday he still visits the dumpster.

"I time myself on when I can get there, if I can get there earlier or not, and I typically do, which makes me just kind of wonder, would it have made a difference, would it not? I don't know, I shouldn't let it eat at me that way but I do," he said.

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Most days Patrick finds himself arriving at 6:45 which would have been about 15 minutes into the attack.

More from WDAY's Matt Henson
Court documents alleged that James Kollie Jr. threatened to kill his mother earlier in the week, but was released from jail 48 hours later. Police said late Friday he was arrested in Wahpeton, North Dakota.

"I remember Friday very vividly, getting caught up at the Holiday Inn because the garbage did not want to come out of the dumpster, it kept sticking, I probably spent 10 or 15 minute there," he recalled.

It's unknown if getting there earlier would have saved the teen's life. Or if the driver for a private company would have stopped to check what was going on instead of driving right past the murder. That driver drove by just 9 minutes after it started.

"I don't understand how people can be so intensive or desensitize, just because there's someone laying on the ground and you think they are homeless, you think they're drunk, whatever," said Peterson.

The murder also haunts Patrick Peterson for another reason.

"That's the second kid I couldn't help," he explained.

He's referring to the day he found his own 2-month old daughter Cali Anna Mae dead in her crib from sudden infant death syndrome. She would have been the same age as Jupiter Paulsen today.

"That rips you apart, it just destroys you," he said.

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Peterson testified at Kollie's murder trial about what he saw that summer day and then sat through the rest of the trial. While he thought there was plenty of evidence to convict, he admits he sat there with some worry, that he helped Kollie's defense team draw up a mental illness defense.

"I'm not going to lie, I was a little worried because the way they were playing it, I thought I gave them a loophole because of my testimony of just saying it didn't look like he understood," referring to Kollie's emotions when Peterson stopped to see what was going on.

Peterson admits the case is always on his mind, because the healing for him won't begin until the judge hands down Kollie's sentence.

"If he gets locked up for life without parole that's at least a start to justice, I don't think you'll get proper justice," he said.

A sentencing date for Arthur Kollie has not been set.

Related Topics: FARGOCRIME AND COURTS
Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at mhenson@wday.com and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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