Juror in Arthur Kollie trial speaks out on quick guilty verdicts
FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - We’re hearing from a juror in the Arthur Kollie case as to what went on in deliberations that led to three guilty verdicts Thursday, including the murder of 14-year-old Jupiter Paulsen in a Fargo strip mall parking lot last June. Jurors deliberated for less than two hours.
“It came down to not guilty due to lack of criminal responsibility or guilty,” juror Wes Desjardins said. Desjardins is also the Operations Manager at Valley News Live.
Counselors and Kollie’s sister testified in the days and weeks prior to the murder of Paulsen, Kollie’s mental health was getting worse. And in an interview with police, Kollie said he smoked meth the day before the attack and admitted he sometimes talks to himself, both which he claims makes him not remember things.
Kollie’s defense argued his deteriorating mental health made Kollie not understand what happened in the early morning hours of June 4, 2021.
“Obviously something’s not right here, but does it rise to the level of the guy had no idea of what he was doing?” Desjardins said.
Desjardins said for him, the state’s timeline of events after the murder, as well as the video of the assault were the proverbial smoking gun. He added Kollie’s defense didn’t do enough to prove something is actually mentally wrong with Kollie.
“They didn’t have a psychologist or psychiatrist who evaluated him to say, ‘Yeah, this individual has a serious mental problem,’” Desjardins said. “That was the missing piece from the defense as far as I was concerned, and I think a few other people.”
After more than an hour of discussion, Desjardins says an informal poll was taken and all twelve hands raised to find Kollie guilty. However, as the designated jury foreman, Desjardins wanted to keep the conversation going.
“What I didn’t want to do is feel like we were rushing through this. It’s a serious decision that’s going to affect a number of people,” he said.
Desjardins says those lingering conversations didn’t last long, and soon enough, they were delivering the verdict to the courtroom. It’s a verdict Desjardins says he feels good about.
“I think justice was served,” he said.
Kollie will be sentenced later this year, if not in early 2023. He faces a maximum of life in prison without the possibility of parole which prosecutors say they will be pushing for.
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