35-year-old arrested on suspicion of double murder in Fargo
By Dave Roepke and Maureen McMullen
FARGO – Police arrested a 35-year-old Fargo man early Saturday morning who is suspected of killing two people in north Fargo.
Officers arrested David George Stevens on suspicion of murdering a 23-year-old Fargo woman and a 30-year-old Moorhead man, Police Chief Keith Ternes said in a news conferenceSaturday morning.
Ternes disclosed few details about the slaying, but he said the victims’ wounds appear to be from a stabbing and that officers had enough probable cause to arrest Stevens, who is being held in the Cass County Jail pending charges.
Though he didn’t specify the relationship between the victims or the man suspected of killing them, Ternes said investigators believe they weren’t strangers.
“These are people who knew one another,” he said.
Police didn’t release the names of the victims Saturday.
Detectives were still working on identifying a motive for the killings, Ternes said.
“I’m quite certain that’s something we’ll work towards uncovering” on Saturday, the chief said.
Ternes said he expected officers would continue to be on the scene for much of the day Saturday. A block of Seventh Avenue North between 11th and 12th streets was still closed to traffic Saturday morning and would be until at least the afternoon, Ternes said in a 9 a.m. news conference.
Mid-morning, police were still barring anyone from entering the block and the alley behind it. Even a mail carrier looking to make his Saturday morning deliveries in the area was stopped by an officer and turned away.
Ternes said police received multiple 911 calls shortly after 2 a.m. reporting a possible stabbing at 1105 7th Ave. N., a 6-unit apartment building.
When officers arrived, they found two people dead outside the building, Ternes said. Stevens was still inside the building, he said.
Ternes said a confrontation of some sort began inside the residence. He declined to say if investigators have recovered a suspected weapon used in the killings, but he reiterated multiple times that officers believed there was probable cause to arrest Steven on suspicion of murder.
The 23-year-old woman who was killed appears to have been a tenant in the building, Ternes said. Initial investigation indicates Stevens was not a tenant, and police are trying to piece together why he was there, the chief said. A background check database used by collection agencies lists 1105 7th Ave. N. as a former address where Stevens lived.
It’s the second and third homicides in Fargo in 2013.
The only other homicide this year was in February, when Ronald Rogers fatally shot his wife, Elizabeth Rogers. Earlier this month, Rogers was sentenced to 30 years in state prison after pleading guilty to murder.
Much of the investigation was conducted outside in some of the first subzero temperatures of the season, Ternes said.
“It’s made their work just a little bit more difficult,” he said of investigators.
Ternes said there were two active warrants out for Stevens’ arrest, both for misdemeanors.
An arrest warrant was issued for Stevens in Fargo Municipal Court on Tuesday, according to online court records. The warrant was linked to a 2011 incident in which he pleaded guilty to drunken driving and driving with a revoked or suspended license. He failed to pay the fines on the charges, records show.
He was also wanted on an arrest warrant issued in Ramsey County in Minnesota linked to an unpaid fine on a petty theft case, according to court records.
Court records show Stevens’ only serious prior criminal history in North Dakota is a felony terrorizing charge to which he pleaded guilty in March 2011. Details of that case weren’t available because the courthouse is closed on weekends. But he received a two-year sentence, all of which was suspended except for 72 days already served in jail. He also was ordered to serve 1½ years on supervised probation.
Stevens’s only felony conviction in Minnesota was in 2007 for fifth-degree felony drug possession in Washington County.