GRAND FORKS — After deliberating for just under four hours, a jury found Jordan Lee Borland guilty of criminal vehicular homicide just before 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6. It was the third trial for the Lisbon, N.D., man.
A jury found Borland guilty the first time he was tried in October 2018, but the verdict was thrown out by a judge due to juror misconduct. A second trial, held in July 2019, ended in a mistrial when a jury could not reach a unanimous decision. In the first two trials, deliberations took more than a day.
A motion to dismiss the case filed in December 2019 on the basis that a third trial would constitute double jeopardy was denied by the judge early last month.
Borland was convicted of killing 23-year-old Kevin Lemna in April 2017 after he missed a turn on Highway 1 outside Pekin, N.D., 60 miles west of Grand Forks, and rolled his 2012 Dodge Ram, in which Lemna was the passenger.
Investigators estimated Borland's blood alcohol content at the time of the crash was likely between .097 and .127. Lemna's last text messages to his girlfriend showed that he was afraid to be in the car with Borland, and that he intended to jump out of the vehicle and walk.
It took months for the North Dakota Highway Patrol to figure out who was driving. Investigators used DNA and text messages that Lemna sent to his girlfriend saying he was afraid he was going to die as evidence Borland was driving. Borland insisted he was not behind the wheel.
Borland faces up to 20 years in prison — a far longer sentence than outlined in the original plea deal the family agreed to before the first trial three years ago.
“We gave him a hell of a deal — 18 months — but he refused it and fought it,” said his mother, Kerry Lee. “He could have been out by now. Instead, he decided to put us through hell.”
Borland remained free Thursday night but his sentencing is scheduled in Nelson County Friday morning.
An earlier version of this story misstated the charge. Jordan Lee Borland was found guilty of criminal vehicular homicide.