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Ex-fiancee defends man camp murder suspect

The ex-fiancee of Ryan Neil Anderson took the stand Wednesday in his murder trial in Grand Forks, with the prosecution scrutinizing her side of the story.

The Iron River, Mich., man is accused of stabbing his friend Christopher King, also of Iron River, to death more than a year ago at a man camp near Tioga, N.D.

Anderson maintains he acted in self defense.

Rebecca Rogers, who broke off her engagement with Anderson within a month of the stabbing, confirmed that she felt pressured to take sides. But she said, “My parents raised me to do right… (and) tell the truth.”

North Dakota Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Byers questioned Rogers’ motive for going to defense attorney Nicole Foster with her version of events three months after the stabbing instead of to law enforcement officials.

Rogers said law enforcement never reached out to her.

When pressed as to why she failed to give her account to the detective on scene that night, Rogers broke into tears.

“I was in shock,” she said, recalling how she witnessed blood running down her friend’s stomach and a knife in her then-fiancee’s hand. She also confirmed that she experiences panic attacks.

The trial was moved from Williston to Grand Forks after the defense raised concerns that media coverage would result in an unfair trial.

The defense will likely bring its witnesses, including Rogers, before the jury today. The judge noted that the jury might be able to begin deliberation as early as next Tuesday.

Related: Washington murder conspiracy linked to Bakken

Defending Rogers

Prior to the stabbing, Rogers and Anderson had been arguing, she testified. She said that other residents at the man camp, defensive of Rogers, were upset with Anderson.

Moments before the stabbing, she testified, Anderson came out of their bedroom into the common area of their housing unit. She said he was yelling at the others when King jumped off the couch and went toward Anderson, saying “That’s it, (expletive). You’re going to get it.”

Once the prosecution is finished calling their witnesses, Rogers will be called to the stand again to testify for the defense.

She is expected to give testimony that will contradict the testimony given by other witnesses to the stabbing, who said they attacked Anderson after he slammed Rogers against the fridge.

In her opening remarks Tuesday, Foster alleged that Anderson never laid a finger on Rogers.

The prosecution also questioned Roger’s relationship with the defense attorney, asking if Rogers was paying for Foster’s hotel room in Grand Forks, to which she answered “no.”

Call Volpenhein at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1125; or send email to svolpenhein@gfherald.com.

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