'You treated her like trash:' Moorhead man sentenced for killing, dismembering roommate

Clay County Judge Tammy Merkins sentenced Ethan Martin Broad, 28, to 367 months behind bars for killing 19-year-old Dystynee Avery on April 3, 2020, at their Moorhead apartment.

Ethan Broad of Moorhead appears in Clay County District Court via videoconference from the Clay County Jail for a sentencing hearing Friday, May 21. He was sentenced to XX years in prison for killing and dismembering his roommate, 19-year-old Dystynee Avery. April Baumgarten/ The Forum

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MOORHEAD — A Moorhead man has been sentenced to 30 1/2 years in prison for killing and dismembering his roommate l ast year.

Ethan Martin Broad, 28, showed little emotion Friday, May 21, as members of 19-year-old Dystynee Avery's family delivered statements in court on how her murder impacted their lives.

Avery's mother, Doreen Avery, called Broad evil before Clay County Judge Tammy Merkins handed down the 367-month sentence.


"Ethan, you have absolutely no remorse for what you did," Doreen Avery said. "You should spend every minute of your time behind bars."

Broad may only have to serve two-thirds of that time if he does not violate the terms of a plea agreement while in custody. He also has credit for 400 days of time served in jail.

Dystynee Avery.jpg
Dystynee Avery

Broad pleaded guilty in January to second-degree murder with intent, a felony that carries a maximum punishment of 40 years in prison. A second murder charge saying he killed Dystynee Avery without intent was dismissed.

In pleading guilty, Broad admitted to hitting Dystynee Avery over the head with a pipe before cutting her throat. He claimed Avery —his roommate at their apartment at 1310 28th Ave. S. in Moorhead — swung the pipe at him, and he was angry at her.

After killing Avery, Broad then dragged her body to a garage, where he dismembered her with saws before putting her remains into several garbage bags, according to court documents. Broad put Dystynee Avery into a nearby dumpster, police said.

“You treated her like she was trash,” Dystynee Avery's sister, Chloey Avery said. " You threw her away as if she wasn’t a person at all, as if her life was worthless.”


Dystynee Avery's remains were found at the Clay County landfill three weeks after she was killed.

Broad attempted to withdraw that plea, insisting he didn’t understand the terms of the plea agreement. Merkins denied that request.


Dystynee Avery started living with Broad when she was vulnerable and felt like she had no other option, Chloey Avery said. Broad promised to take care of Dystynee Avery like a sister, but instead, he killed her, Chloey Avery said.
“Not only did you take her life. You mutilated her body,” she said. “Murdering Dystynee wasn’t enough for you. You had to carve her body into pieces.”

Broad has mental health issues that, at times, can make it hard for him to show emotions such as remorse, his attorney Kenneth Kludt said. He argued his client had shown remorse.

Broad cried as prosecutors played a video showing photos of Dystynee Avery. When Merkins asked if he wanted to say something, Broad said, "No, thank you."

"This was a horrific, senseless crime," Merkins said.

Andrea Catherine Payne, 27, and David Marvin Erno, 23, both of Moorhead, pleaded guilty to aiding Broad after the killing. The two received time served and probation because they helped Broad cover up Dystynee Avery’s death.


Ethan Martin Broad, 27, is accused of dismembering the body of 19-year-old Dystynee Avery in his garage at 1310 28th Ave. S. in Moorhead before putting her remains in nearby dumpsters. Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum

Payne, who was also Broad and Dystynee Avery's roommate, was in the apartment when she heard Broad and Dystynee Avery arguing in another room, police said. She also heard “several loud thumps or strikes” before Broad came out and told her to leave.

She didn’t check on Dystynee Avery but later returned with Erno, who admitted to wiping Dystynee Avery’s computer clean of identifying information, according to a criminal complaint. The two lied to police about Dystynee Avery’s whereabouts, despite knowing she was dead, police said.

Brandon Everett Leroy Erbstoesser, 34, of Fargo, has not entered a plea to aiding charges. Prosecutors alleged he told Broad how to cover up the murder.


April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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