WILLISTON -- The North Dakota Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a Williston man serving three years in prison for manslaughter.
Justices affirmed the jury verdict against Justin Crites and upheld Northwest District Judge Kirsten Sjue's denial of Crites’ request for a mistrial, the Williston Herald reported.
Crites, who is in his late 20s, was accused of causing the death of Jay LePage, 57, also of Williston, in May 2019 after an argument outside a Williston bar. Authorities said Crites punched LePage, causing him to hit his head on the sidewalk. LePage died days later in a Minot hospital.
A jury convicted Crites last August, and Sjue later sentenced him to 10 years in prison, with seven years suspended. He'll be on probation for five years following his release.
Crites argued during the trial that he had acted in self-defense and only punched LePage after being hit himself.
Justices wrote, "We conclude substantial evidence exists that could allow a jury to draw a reasonable inference in favor of conviction. Additionally, we conclude the court did not abuse its discretion in denying Crites’ motions for a mistrial.”