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Judge denies jury's request to view video

BISMARCK - A videotaped interview of investigators questioning Moe Gibbs in Mindy Morgenstern's death has piqued the interest of the second jury assigned to decide whether he killed the 22-year-old college student.

Graphic: Timeline

BISMARCK - A videotaped interview of investigators questioning Moe Gibbs in Mindy Morgenstern's death has piqued the interest of the second jury assigned to decide whether he killed the 22-year-old college student.

A jury of five women and seven men asked to see the interview about an hour after beginning deliberations at 3:40 p.m. Tuesday. The interview was conducted on the day of Gibbs' arrest and was not introduced into evidence.

Southeast Judicial District Judge John Paulson denied the jury's request and instructed jurors to only consider the testimony and documents presented during the trial.

Attorneys squabbled over the Sept. 20, 2006, video several times throughout the last two weeks. It shows Gibbs repeatedly denying killing Morgenstern, but also making statements that contradict what other witnesses have testified.

A roughly 90-minute redacted version of the video was played for the jury in Gibbs' first murder trial in Minot, which ended with a jury deadlocked 6-6 in July. That jury asked to and was shown the video again during deliberations.

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During closing arguments Tuesday, defense attorney Jeff Bredahl contended the state had not met its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

"You're not choosing whether Moe did it or didn't do it. What you're choosing is is there proof beyond a reasonable doubt." Bredahl said.

Barnes County State's Attorney Brad Cruff argued that the state proved Gibbs committed Class AA felony murder.

Cruff said Gibbs had the ability and he "left his calling card" under Morgenstern's left-hand fingernails when she scratched him during a struggle, catching his DNA.

Cruff told jurors a gap in Gibbs' electronic communication with others during the time authorities believe he strangled and cut the throat of the Valley City State University student in her apartment is more than "just a coincidence."

The defense contends Gibbs' DNA could have come from a laundry basket he told investigators he helped her carry to her apartment three to seven days before the slaying. Gibbs told his ex-wife he helped Morgenstern the day before her death, Chrissy Judd testified.

Bredahl argued Gibbs scratched his hands after Morgenstern's death, citing testimony about enhanced video images the defense says shows there were no scratches two days after the slaying.

Assistant North Dakota Attorney General Jonathan Byers argued the scratches were there, citing investigators' testimony that Gibbs' story about them often changed.

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Also Tuesday, Bredahl unsuccessfully requested a mistrial five separate times.

Gibbs, 35, who lived in the same Valley City apartment building as Morgenstern, faces a maximum sentence of life without parole if convicted.

Deliberations will continue at 8:15 a.m. today.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Brittany Lawonn at (701) 241-5541 Judge denies jury's request to view video Brittany Lawonn 20071114

Graphic: Timeline

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