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Siblings jail cells apart

Two West Fargo brothers with very different pasts are now only jail cells apart. Louis and Jordan Lugert were sentenced during the past week for their roles in two high-profile, felony crimes - Louis for an attempted murder and Jordan for a $1 mi...

Jordan Lugert

Two West Fargo brothers with very different pasts are now only jail cells apart.

Louis and Jordan Lugert were sentenced during the past week for their roles in two high-profile, felony crimes - Louis for an attempted murder and Jordan for a $1 million vandalism spree.

Efforts to reach family members were unsuccessful, but court records paint a picture of the different paths the brothers traveled.

They lived in West Fargo with their younger sister and parents. But by the time Louis was 19, he was already beginning a slew of run-ins with the law. Over the next few years, he faced various drug and underage drinking charges while unemployed at times and living at his family at home.

In 2003, after 25 years of marriage, the brothers' parents divorced due to "irreconcilable differences." Divorce records show no evidence of domestic violence and depict parents who were active in their daughter's soccer practices and Girl Scouts.

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That same year, Jordan was deployed to Iraq as a sergeant in the North Dakota National Guard, serving overseas as a surveyor until he returned in April 2004. He's been with the National Guard since 2000 and is still listed as a member of his unit. But his felony conviction for vandalizing the UP Center in south Fargo with a friend in April after a full night of drinking may end his stint with the Guard.

"I'm not sure what's going to happen in this case," Guard spokesman Sgt. Dan Murphy said Tuesday, adding it will be up to the unit's commander to review the case and decide the outcome of Jordan's involvement with the Guard. "We'll really have to look at all the factors."

Jordan, 25, was sentenced Monday to two years in prison for the vandalism. He confessed to police that he helped vandalize the center, using cranes to smash a concrete block, shatter windows and throw equipment off the roof.

Maj. James Olson, who deployed with Jordan to Iraq, said that's not the man he knows, describing Jordan as "a professional soldier."

"He did a fine job when he was here," Olson said. "As far as performance, I never had a problem with (Jordan). It's too bad this happened."

Jordan's attorney, Mark Beauchene, presented letters of references, vouching for his good character and integrity, as he asked the judge to give him a sentence allowing him to stay in the Guard.

Beauchene described Jordan as an exemplary student, receiving "A's" and "B's" in college.

"He's the kind of young man, your honor, that you're proud of as a parent," Beauchene said in court.

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After the UP vandalism, Jordan sought treatment for a binge-drinking problem, Beauchene said. Jordan had driving violations in the past, but never served jail time until now.

His older brother's criminal record, though, tells a different story.

When Louis was 19, he was cited consuming alcohol as a minor in Clay County. A year later, he was arrested in suspicion of the same charge at his home. When police arrived, Louis was reportedly fighting with his father, who helped police detain the fleeing, "very belligerent," young man.

Police said Louis used foul language to describe his own drunken state and swore at officers trying to arrest him. He was later convicted of escape and criminal mischief for busting a police squad car window and attempting to flee.

At the time, Louis' father told police he was concerned about his son's alcohol and drug problem.

Then, in 2004 and 2006, Louis pleaded guilty to drug charges, but his probation was revoked after he failed to follow court orders.

Louis - referred to by acquaintances as "Screwy Louie" - was released from prison in September 2006, but less than six months later his actions would earn him a return ticket.

In February 2007, Louis and another man were arrested following a Fargo robbery in which a man was choked, kicked and stabbed nine times in the chest.

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Last week, Louis, now 26, was sentenced to 6½ years in prison for his role in the incident. His accomplice received 15 years.

Neither brother returned messages left for comment at the Cass County Jail, where they are both still being held. Forum reporter Brittany Lawonn

contributed to this report.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515

Jordan Lugert

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