The Murder of Dru Sjodin

Sex Offender Alfonso Rodriguez Jr, Arrested, Indicted

An attractive 22-year-old University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin left her job at the Columbia Mall in Grand Forks, North Dakota at 4 p.m. Nov. 22, 2003 and was never seen alive again. She was talking with her boyfriend on her cell phone when she said "Oh my god." Her phone then went dead. Chris Lang received another call from Dru's phone a few hours later, but there was only static on the other end of the line.

On December 1, 2003, although her body had yet been found, Alfonso Rodriguz Jr, a registered sex offender from Minnesota who had recently completed a 23-year prison term, was charged with abducting Dru Sjodin. After Dru's body was discovered April 17, 2004 near where Rodriquz lived, a federal grand jury charged Rodriguez with kidnapping and murder.

Latest Developments

Death Penalty Upheld in Dru Sjodin Case
Sept. 22, 2009
The death sentence has been upheld for a sex offender who was convicted of the kidnapping and murder of University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin in 2003. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. received a fair trial and sentence.

Previous Developments

Dru Sjodin's Killer Sentenced to Die
Feb. 8, 2007
U.S District Judge Ralph Erickson also rejected a motion for a new trial for Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. in the death of 22-year-old Dru Sjodin.

Dru Sjodin's Killer Gets Death Sentence

22, 2006
After three decades of sexual assaults, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. will no longer be able to prey on innocent victims. He was sentenced to death today by a federal jury in Fargo.

Rodriguez Guilty of Murder
Aug. 30, 2006
A federal jury deliberated less than four hours today before returning a guilty verdict in the trial of Alfonso Rodriquez Jr.

The verdict sets up the first death penalty phase of a trial in North Dakota in more than 100 years.

Closing Arguments Given
Aug. 29, 2006
Closing arguments were presented today in the trial of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.after the defense called only one witness and closed its case.

Trial Begins With Opening Statements
Aug. 14, 2006
Opening statements were presented today to a federal court jury in Fargo, North Dakota in the trial of convicted sex offender Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. for the murder of 22-year-old Dru Sjodin in November 2003.

Judge Refuses to Move Sjodin Trial
Aug. 10, 2006
A federal court judge has again refused a motion for a change of venue as jury selection continued into the fourth week. Attorneys have qualified 66 potential jurors for a final panel of 70 from which 12 will be chosen to hear the case.

DNA Issues Argued in Dru Sjodin Case
Aug. 1, 2006
With jury selection expected to last for another two weeks, attorneys argued a motion by the defense to have some of the DNA evidence in the case thrown out because of mishandling in the crime lab.

Trial Set to Begin in Dru Sjodin Case
July 5, 2006
A convicted sex offender is scheduled to go on trial in federal court in North Dakota for the abduction and murder of college student Dru Sjodin.

Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., 53, could possibly face the death penalty if he is convicted by a federal court jury in Fargo.

Potential Jurors Questioned; Gag Ordered Issued
June 7, 2006
More than 600 potential jurors began filling out questionnaires this week in preparation of the federal court trial of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. who is charged with the murder of a 22-year-old University of North Dakota student in 2003.

'No Fair Jury' Claimed in Dru Sjodin Case
Dec. 14, 2005
Attorneys for the man accused of the kidnapping and murder of University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin have filed motions in federal court claiming it will not be possible to find "a fair cross section" of jurors for the up-coming trial because of the way the state chooses jurors.

Dru Sjodin Case: Attorneys Argue Death Penalty
June 24, 2005
Attorneys for the man accused of the murder of University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin have filed several motions opposing the prosecution's effort to seek the death penalty for Alfonso Rodriquez, Jr.

Death Penalty Sought in Dru Sjodin Case
Oct. 28, 2004
Federal prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr., who is accused of kidnapping and killing North Dakota college student Dru Sjodin in November 2003.

Rodriguez Gets 'Death Penalty Lawyer' - May. 28, 2004
A Kansas defense attorney, who has experience in kidnapping cases and who has argued against the death penalty, will help in the defense of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. Richard Ney, of Wichita, said he was assigned to work on researching the death penalty in the case, although federal authorities have yet to decide officially if they will seek the penalty in the case.

Rodriguez Pleads Not Guilty - May. 13, 2004
Facing what could be the first federal death penalty case ever in North Dakota, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court to a charge of kidnapping Dru Sjodin in a manner leading to her death.