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Criminal gang case moves toward trial

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A Bismarck man accused of paying a teenage boy $100 to break into a home and steal money owed in a drug debt will stand trial in April.

Trevon Thompson, 19, at a Tuesday hearing pleaded not guilty to burglary conspiracy, being part of a criminal street gang, and encouraging minors to participate in a gang.

Thompson was charged in November when Mandan police responded to a call of a burglary in the southwest part of the city. Police identified three juveniles from surveillance video, and questioned one of them. The youth told police that Thompson offered him $100 to carry out the burglary, according to testimony from Police Detective Josh Scherr.

The boy referred to himself as an enforcer for Thompson and said that in past jobs Thompson had provided him with a firearm, Scherr said. The boy told police he had never fired the weapon but had pointed it at people to get them to cooperate, according to the officer. The youth in the alleged November incident had no gun but carried a knife “larger than those we carry for duty purposes,” Scherr testified.

Defense attorney Justin Balzer argued that the other juveniles allegedly involved did not identify Thompson and that police had no information showing Thompson was part of a gang. South Central District Judge Lindsey Nieuwsma moved the matter to trial, saying any factual disputes in the case would have to be settled there. She set a trial date of April 1.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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