ND man pleads guilty to July gas station shooting

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GRAND FORKS, N.D.—A Grand Forks man charged with attempted murder in a convenience store shooting last summer has pleaded guilty to reduced charges.

Jody Christopher Bergland Jr., was sentenced Tuesday, Jan.16, in Grand Forks District Court to five years in prison for aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon, a Class C felony. He initially was charged with a Class A felony count of attempted murder and reckless endangerment, a Class C felony, but the plea agreement downgraded the more serious charge.

Bergland was arrested July 31 after witnesses say he shot Glenn Hansen outside the Valley Dairy at 2401 Columbia Road. Investigators determined Hansen and Bergland "had an exchange on the roadway concerning each other's driving behavior" before stopping their vehicles at the convenience store, according to court documents.

Hansen parked his vehicle behind Bergland's before approaching the defendant's vehicle, according to court documents. Within four seconds, Bergland had shot Hansen in the arm, prosecutors said.

Bergland claimed self-defense, adding he saw Hansen carrying "a large knife," according to court documents. After viewing video footage from Valley Dairy, police said they did not see Hansen carrying a knife.

The bullet's trajectory went toward the store, and multiple customers were inside the building at the time of the shooting, police said.

Bergland said little during the sentencing other than he doesn't plan to have any contact with Hansen or his family. No victims in the case were present during the hearing, though impact statements were submitted to the court.

A Class A felony carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, while a Class C felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Bergland also was given a sentence of five years in prison for the reckless endangerment charge to be served after he completes prison time for the aggravated assault charge, but that prison time was suspended on the condition he doesn't violate supervised probation for three years after his release.

He must serve at least two years in prison before he can qualify for parole. He also was given a credit of 45 days for time served.