Alleged murder participant free
The family of a Dickinson man who was murdered in 2009 is outraged and terrified that a 25-year-old man who allegedly participated in the murder walked out the doors of the North Dakota State Penitentiary on Wednesday.
Benjamin Orf is on probation after being charged for illegally possessing a firearm in connection to the murder of Neal Matejovsky.
"I think it's completely wrong," said Jessica Bilquist, Matejovsky's daughter and Orf's half sister. "He's not getting justice for his part in it and knowing Ben and knowing his history, I completely believe that he will reoffend in some way or shape."
Matejovsky's body was found in Dunn County in April 2009. Authorities believe Matejovsky, who was 49 when he died, was killed in March 2009.
Shane Miller, 42, was convicted of murder for shooting Matejovsky.
However, Orf is believed to have stabbed Matejovsky after Miller delivered the fatal bullet, authorities said at a 2009 hearing.
Bilquist believes Orf is a danger to society.
"I just hope people keep their eyes peeled because I don't know where he's going back to and he's definitely not a safe person to be around or a trustworthy person," she said. "This is not the first time he has been in trouble. He's been in trouble his entire life for doing horrible things. This happened to just be the worst of it."
Dunn County State's Attorney Ross Sundeen said he hasn't decided whether he will charge Orf for his alleged involvement in the murder.
"We're following up on some leads," Sundeen said. "If Ben Orf is culpable I'd certainly like to hold him accountable."
Miller pleaded guilty in January 2010 as part of an agreement which stipulated he cooperate with Sundeen in Orf's case.
Miller is serving his sentence at the James River Correctional Facility and is scheduled for release in May 2026.
"He had made an application for a post-conviction release, asking to withdraw his plea of guilty, but then ultimately that application was withdrawn," Sundeen said. "That's not uncommon."
In December, Sundeen said Orf would face more charges before he was released from prison.
However, Sundeen has two years after an offense is committed to charge a misdemeanor and three years to charge a felony, so he has until March to decide whether he will charge Orf with a felony.
Sundeen does not believe Orf's release from prison will affect possible future charges against Orf.
"I have absolutely no closure and I just feel angry and I feel like the more time goes on the angrier I get," Bilquist said. "True closure would be for him to just fess up completely and admit to everything that he had done, but that will never happen."
She and Orf's side of the family are not afraid of Orf, Bilquist said, but Matejovsky's side of the family is.
"I think everybody's coping with it differently," Bilquist said. "I'm afraid for other people ... Sometimes I get nervous for my loved ones."
She said prior to the murder, Orf had not had much contact with Matejovsky.
"All of a sudden after years he started talking to my dad, it's weird," Bilquist said.
Matejovsky thought Orf, who has a lengthy list of charges on his record, was turning his life around, she said.
"Two weeks later my dad goes missing," Bilquist said. "I think people need to know what type of person is going to be walking the streets."