Mandan murder suspect makes first court appearance

2014-04-01T16:22:00Z Mandan murder suspect makes first court appearanceBy JENNY MICHAEL | Bismarck Tribune Bismarck Tribune

A Mandan man accused of shooting another man to death in January made his first court appearance on felony charges.

Jonathan James McKinney, 25, was charged last week with Class AA felony murder and two counts of Class C felony tampering with physical evidence in the death of Alex Lansdon.

Lansdon, 28, was found dead shortly before 10 p.m. Jan. 27 at the mobile home he rented in the Wildwood Trailer Park in southeast Mandan. Preliminary autopsy results indicate he died of multiple gunshot wounds.

McKinney was in custody in Dickinson in an unrelated case when the charges were filed in Lansdon’s death. Morton County officials brought him to Mandan on Tuesday for his initial appearance.

South Central District Judge Bruce Romanick set bond Tuesday for McKinney at $250,000 cash, Morton County Assistant State’s Attorney Gabrielle Goter said.

A co-defendant in the case, Warren Travis Pfetzer, made his first appearance on Friday. Romanick set bond at $100,000 for Pfetzer, who lived in the same home as McKinney. Pfetzer faces charges of terrorizing, felon in possession of a firearm and two counts of tampering with physical evidence, all Class C felonies.

McKinney is accused of killing Lansdon, who was originally from California, by shooting him multiple times with a .45-caliber rifle. Then he and McKinney are accused of removing a rifle and bullet casings from Lansdon’s home, repositioning Lansdon’s body and shooting Lansdon’s body after he died.

Pfetzer and McKinney then are accused of arranging for Lansdon’s rifle to be destroyed by a man not charged in the case.

Pfetzer also is accused of threatening a confidential source’s life and of possessing a firearm after being convicted of robbery and escape. In court on Friday, Goter said Pfetzer has convictions in numerous states. Pfetzer said he was convicted of robbery in Kentucky, then went to Alabama and eventually North Dakota after being released on parole. It wasn’t clear whether he is still on parole.

Goter said Pfetzer has criminal history in Ohio, Alabama and Kentucky, in addition to numerous active cases in North Dakota. She said McKinney also faces numerous unrelated charges in North Dakota but did not have anything significant from other states. McKinney is originally from California but said in court Tuesday that he is from Alabama, Goter said.

Pfetzer has applied for a court appointed attorney, and on Tuesday, Rob Quick was assigned to the case. McKinney did not have an attorney listed on court documents as of Tuesday afternoon.

Reach Jenny Michael at 701-250-8225 or

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