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Murder suspect pleads innocent

Lynette Daly-Flieth calls it a horrific tragedy, a two-fold nightmare in which one of her sons is dead and another is facing years in prison. "I'm still waiting to wake up from the nightmare," she said. "It doesn't seem real." Daly-Flieth voiced ...

Lynette Daly-Flieth calls it a horrific tragedy, a two-fold nightmare in which one of her sons is dead and another is facing years in prison.

"I'm still waiting to wake up from the nightmare," she said. "It doesn't seem real."

Daly-Flieth voiced her disbelief Thursday outside a Cass County courtroom, where her 26-year-old son, Chad Erickson, was arraigned for the Jan. 18 shotgun murder of Aaron Erickson, 29.

Minutes earlier, Daly-Flieth and other family members watched Chad Erickson plead not guilty to the murder charge, which carries a minimum mandatory sentence of four years in prison.

"We are bewildered as to how this could have happened," Daly-Flieth said. "We love both our sons equally and unconditionally."

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Court records say:

Police arrested Chad Erickson after being called about 2:30 a.m. Jan. 18 to his Fargo apartment at 2513 9th St. N. At the scene, officers found the body of Aaron Erickson, a shotgun wound to his chest and stomach, lying in the doorway to his brother's apartment.

Chad Erickson later told police he shot Aaron when he kicked down the door to Chad's apartment, looking for a fight. Neighbors in the floor above told police they had heard the brothers yelling at each other.

In court Thursday, Chad Erickson's defense attorney, Mark Beauchene, told Judge John Irby the circumstances point to self-defense.

Hours after the shooting, Daly-Flieth told police Aaron had a violent temper and that the brothers had a history of fighting. When the two were younger, the older brother served time in juvenile detention for pulling a gun on Chad, she said.

On Thursday, Daly-Flieth contrasted those accounts with a different picture of her sons. Aaron and Chad often got along fantastically and would have done anything to help the other.

"They were not only loving brothers but best friends as well," she said.

Their father, Dan Erickson of Fargo, said he agreed with everything Daly-Flieth said but did not want to comment further.

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A search of Erickson's apartment also led to two felony charges of possessing meth and meth paraphernalia, and two misdemeanor marijuana charges.

After pleading not guilty to all counts, Irby reduced Erickson's bail from a $50,000 bond to $1,000 cash and $9,000 personal recognizance. One condition of the reduction, which the prosecution and defense jointly recommended, was that Chad live with his father until the case is resolved.

A jail official said Erickson had bailed out by 6 p.m. Thursday. His next court appearance will likely be next month.

Daly-Flieth, who was joined in court by half a dozen other relatives, said Chad's family "stands completely and totally behind him."

"He has 100 percent of our love and support," she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Forster at (701) 241-5538

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