Opening of opening statements in the trial of a man accused of killing 4 people in Mandan
Isaak faces four counts of murder suspected of shooting and stabbing RJR Maintenance & Management co-owner Robert Fakler and employees Adam Fuehrer, Bill Cobb and his wife, Lois, on April 1, 2019. Wednesday August 4, Isaac’s lawyers gave the public a first glimpse of his defense.
The defense said law enforcement almost immediately after the murders refined their investigation only on Isaak and ignored other suspects or evidence that did not directly incriminate Isaak.
“This case is a rushed judgment,” defense attorney Bruce Quick said, adding that law enforcement had become consumed with “confirmation bias,” meaning they quickly identified Isaak as suspect and gathered only evidence to confirm that Isaak committed the crimes.
After the murders, investigators collected DNA samples from RJR Maintenance and Management, the car William and Lois Cobb drove to work, and Isaak’s vehicle and residence in Washburn, about 30 miles away. north of Mandan.
Investigators did not find Isaak’s DNA in any of the samples taken from RJR Maintenance, or from any of the victims, Quick said. No DNA from the four victims was found in his residence, including knives and clothing found in his mobile home.
Quick said RJR Management had many disgruntled tenants and former employees, and law enforcement failed to adequately investigate any of them. He also showed a first press release from the Mandan Police Department shortly after April 1 that investigators were trying to determine a motive in the killings. Quick said that Isaak had no criminal history and no apparent animosity towards the leadership of RJR.
In his opening statement, Quick said Fakler had a girlfriend that his wife claimed to not know. This girlfriend had an ex-husband who has a criminal history.
During the prosecution’s opening statement, lawyer Karlei Neufeld explained to jurors the horrific deaths of the four victims, including their gunshot and stab wounds and the pools of blood surrounding them.
Neufeld said first responders were shocked when they saw Falker had been stabbed multiple times as they were told someone was going into cardiac arrest before arriving at the scene.
Family and friends of the victims repeatedly cried during the prosecution’s opening statements on Wednesday.
Isaak has pleaded not guilty to four counts of murder. If found guilty, he faces life imprisonment without parole.
Readers can contact Forum reporter Michelle Griffith, a member of the Report for America body, at [email protected]