Miller pleads guilty to murder at pretrialNeal Douglas Matejovsky’s family members say they’re beginning to feel closure since Shane Miller, a 40-year-old Texas man, pleaded guilty to murdering him during a pretrial conference Tuesday.
Neal Douglas Matejovsky’s family members say they’re beginning to feel closure since Shane Miller, a 40-year-old Texas man, pleaded guilty to murdering him during a pretrial conference Tuesday.
The plea was entered as part of an agreement which, if Judge William Herauf approves, will result in Miller being sentenced to 20 years in prison. Miller would be required to serve 85 percent of the sentence, said Ross Sundeen, Dunn County state’s attorney.
“We have a sense of relief,” Shirley Brown, Matejovsky’s sister, said after the hearing.
The body of 49-year-old Matejovsky, who was reportedly shot twice and stabbed, was found in Dunn County April 10. Authorities believe Matejovsky was killed March 26.
Herauf wanted to review Miller’s criminal history before imposing the sentence, so he will be sentenced at another hearing.
Sundeen said Miller’s plea agreement will help in other cases involved in the matter.
“It provides the state with additional and necessary information to further promote means of justice,” Sundeen said. “In addition, it takes us all one step closer toward holding all of those involved accountable for their actions.”
Miller is accused of shooting and killing Matejovsky, but Benjamin Robert Orf is believed to have stabbed him after Miller allegedly delivered the fatal bullet, authorities said at a July hearing.
“In this particular incidence, we have a crime with two witnesses, both of whom were involved,” Sundeen said at Tuesday’s hearing. “The one witness who isn’t here today is currently incarcerated in Bismarck State Penitentiary and has substantial credibility issues.”
The plea agreement stipulates Miller must cooperate with Sundeen in Orf’s case, said Kelly Armstrong, Miller’s attorney.
Orf is reportedly Matejovsky’s former stepson. Orf has been convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm in connection to the case.
Miller’s proposed sentence has been discussed with family and law enforcement, Sundeen said, adding they seem to be in favor of it.
“It’s a very fair deal,” Armstrong said.
Sundeen plans to file charges against Orf within 30 days.
The family said they will feel better if Orf is convicted of participating in the murder.
“We have one more to take care of, probably the worst one of the two of them,” Mary Giles, Matejovsky’s mother, said after the hearing.
Matejovsky’s 19-year-old daughter, Jessica Bilquist of Dickinson, said she doesn’t think the sentence is fair. However, she and other family members said they understand the 20-year-sentence — which they don’t believe is enough for Miller — is necessary to convict Orf.
“I think the main person to be after is Ben,” Bilquist said.