ND man sentenced to 29 years for wedding reception killing

NEW ROCKFORD, N.D.--A 52-year-old New Rockford man was sentenced Thursday to 29 years in prison for murdering an apparent innocent bystander at a wedding reception in September 2015 and to another 20 years that will run concurrently for attemptin...

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Mary Seiler gives a victim impact statement Thursday in the Eddy County Courthouse in New Rockford, N.D., prior to the sentencing of David Troske, left. John M. Steiner / The Sun

NEW ROCKFORD, N.D.-A 52-year-old New Rockford man was sentenced Thursday to 29 years in prison for murdering an apparent innocent bystander at a wedding reception in September 2015 and to another 20 years that will run concurrently for attempting to kill his ex-girlfriend.

David Troske was sentenced in an almost packed Eddy County courtroom by Judge Thomas Merrick with his ex-girlfriend- Mary Seiler, 51, New Rockford-in attendance and testifying that she lives almost every day in fear that someone will hurt her and his constantly looking over her shoulder.

Troske, who has been in jail already for 466 days and was given credit for that time, will be held in the Stutsman County Correctional Center until he is processed into the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

On Sept. 6, 2015, Troske approached a table where Donald "Donnie" Perleberg of Pingree and Seiler were sitting in the New Rockford Eagles Club and shot Perleberg in the neck, killing him. He then shot Seiler in the neck and in the chest.

Seiler survived her wounds.


Prior to Troske's sentencing, Eddy County State's Attorney Travis Peterson recommended Troske receive 34 years for the murder and 15 years for the attempted murder.

Joseph Friedberg, one of two attorneys representing Troske, said his client had expressed remorse outside of the courtroom and he had no recommendation on Troske's sentence.

Merrick said Troske will serve a minimum 85 percent of his sentence, which would be 24.65 years. With his credit for time served, Troske's expected release date is sometime in 2040.

Troske pleaded guilty to the charges before Merrick on Sept. 28 in Southeast District Court in Jamestown. In exchange for his plea, Peterson agreed to drop charges of aggravated assault, three counts of reckless endangerment and possession of a firearm in a bar.

Troske didn't say he was sorry for his actions before being sentenced, but tried to convey his feelings about what he was thinking when he shot Perleberg and Seiler.

"It's unfathomable," he said. "I can't even comprehend how I got to such a bad place. I just can't."

Prior to the sentencing, Eddy County State's Attorney Travis Peterson had four people - Seiler; Jeanette Perleberg, who is married to one of Donnie Perleberg's cousins; Marlys Perleberg, Donnie's mother, and Pamela Perleberg, Donnie's sister - speak about the impact that Troske's actions have had on their lives.

Seiler was shot once in the neck by Troske, then in the left side which damaged her lungs, stomach and diaphragm. She said she still has bullet fragments in her right side.


Since the shooting Seiler said her life and her family members' lives have not been the same.

"I go to work, I go home," she said. "I'm always watching over my shoulder, always watching, always have to sit so I can see who is coming and who is there. It's a daily fear that someone will hurt me."

Seiler said she has no social life, stays away from everyone except for family, and she panics if she receives a message on her phone from someone she doesn't know.

"I'm just scared he will come after me again," she said. "I don't want to be scared anymore."

Seiler also emphasized she didn't know Perleberg at the time of the shooting, and he just happened to be sitting at the same table she was at.

Marlys Perleberg said she was happy to see Troske at the wedding reception.

"Our families were friends," she said. "I had no idea this would happen."

She said she will never forget the shock of that night and how she lost her son.


"Donnie never hurt anyone," she said. "He liked to have a good time, he liked to dance. He was a good son, a good brother to his sister, a good father to his son and was looking forward to his first grandchild."

Pamela Perleberg said Donnie was "a quiet leader, a gentle soul and a friend to all." She said Troske's actions were "a heinous act of violence."

Perleberg had her own recommendation for Troske's sentence.

"At the minimum, I wish I had asked for this earlier, 41 years, 6 months, 26 days," she said, "the number of days Donnie walked this earth. I want him (Troske) to think about Donnie every one of those days. It's not my job to forgive him and I won't."

Related Topics: CRIME
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