Man sentenced to death in kidnap-murder of college student

FARGO, N.D. (MCT) – Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. was sentenced to death Thursday for the kidnapping and death of University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin.

“Today is the most difficult day of my life,” U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson said Thursday in handing down the sentence.

He rejected a motion for a new trial.

Rodriguez abducted Sjodin in November 2003 from the parking lot of a mall in Grand Forks. Her body was found about six months later by a ravine near Crookston, Minn.

The case was tried in federal court because state lines were crossed when the crime was committed, which is why Rodriguez was eligible for the death penalty. Neither North Dakota nor Minnesota allow the death penalty in state prosecutions.

Rodriguez, 53, could be on death row for several years as appeals are made by his attorneys.

Sjodin was a native of Pequot Lakes, Minn.

Last summer, Rodriguez was found guilty in Sjodin’s kidnapping and death, and the jury decided he was eligible for, and should receive, the death penalty.

About a dozen friends and family members spoke in court before the sentencing.

Rodriguez showed no emotion during the sentencing hearing. He had been offered a chance to speak but declined.