Jesse Reed Azure, 25, Rolla, has been judged not guilty of stabbing a distant relative and terrorizing the woman’s boyfriend on Jan. 29, 2019, because he lacked criminal responsibility for the offenses.
Court records show that the judgement was entered on Friday.
Azure had originally been charged with Class A felony attempted murder, but that charge was reduced to Class C felony aggravated assault. He was also charged with Class C felony terrorizing. Judge Doug Mattson judged him not guilty of both due to lack of criminal responsibility, which is North Dakota’s version of the temporary insanity defense. A Class C felony terrorizng charge against Azure was dismissed.
According to court documents and statements at a preliminary hearing last year, Azure stabbed his distant cousin five times in the head, torso, and back at a Minot residence. She told authorities that she had been asleep in her bedroom when Azure came in and stabbed her multiple times with a knife. She did not know why Azure had stabbed her. The woman was treated for her injuries at Trinity Hospital and was in stable condition after the attack. The woman’s boyfriend told authorities that he had been in another room with his child when he heard his girlfriend screaming for help. He ran into the room and saw Azure standing over her with the knife. The man told authorities that Azure charged at him with the knife but he was able to maneuver Azure away from him. Azure then grabbed the woman’s car keys and drove off in her car.
Court records show that Mattson ordered Azure held and transported to the North Dakota State Hospital on Friday after he found him not guilty due to lack of criminal responsibility.
Under state law, a defendant found not guilty for lack of criminal responsibility can be held at the state hospital until he is deemed no longer a danger to himself or to the community. In some cases, defendants are released and allowed to work and live in the community and are under the supervision of the North Dakota Health and Human Services until it is proved they are no longer a danger. The length of the supervision period can extend as long as the maximum sentence for the offense. Each C felony carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.