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Man found guilty of murder in ND man camp stabbing

GRAND FORKS — A jury found Ryan Neil Anderson guilty of murder Wednesday in state district court in Grand Forks.

The Iron River, Mich., man stabbed his lifelong friend Christopher King, also of Iron River, twice in the chest and twice in the abdomen at a man camp near Tioga, northeast of Williston, after a night of drinking last year.

“Knowing that Ryan Anderson is going to be put away for a long time helps us feel as though a little justice has been served,” said Tiffany King, the victim’s sister-in-law, reading from a prepared statement. “While there is no true justice for what Ryan did to Chris, this helps the family to feel as though Chris and his life mattered.”

The King family, including two of Chris King’s brothers, expressed relief that the trial was over.

“It was a lot of emotion,” said one of the brothers, Stefen King. “I’m just glad it is all over with.”

Anderson’s family and ex-fiancée declined to comment as they left the courtroom.

The trial had been moved from Williston to Grand Forks because of concerns the media coverage would result in an unfair trial for Anderson.

Anderson will be sentenced in the coming months in Williston. The maximum penalty for murder is life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Defense in tears

After the proceedings concluded, members of the King family embraced the state prosecuting attorneys.

Anderson’s defense attorney, Nicole Foster, was in tears as she left the courtroom and refused to comment. The defense said Anderson was defending himself against attacks from King, who choked him earlier in the night prior to the stabbing.

Several jurors, including the lead juror, also declined to comment as they left the courthouse. The jury went into deliberation midday Tuesday and delivered the verdict midday Wednesday.

Prosecutor Paul Emerson argued that Anderson did not act like someone driven to use self-defense, pointing to his conduct before the stabbing, as shown on video footage from security cameras in the man camp, and afterward.

One witness testified that Anderson wanted to leave King’s body in the hospital parking lot.

The prosecution also argued that Anderson could have avoided the situation. He and his co-workers had been fighting and arguing at his housing unit.

Emerson said in closing statements Tuesday that if Anderson had truly felt in danger, he could have gone to sleep, as he had been advised by his mother and uncle.

The prosecutor said Anderson could have stayed in his bedroom and locked the door, retreated to his aunt or uncle’s room, left through one of the two exits, called 911 or summoned the man camp security.

Emerson also declined to comment as he left the courtroom.