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Man charged in Belcourt incident

By Staff | Dec 6, 2013

A man arrested in connection with a suspicious death in Belcourt, which occurred Nov. 27 and caused lockdowns in the area, is facing charges in tribal court.

Justin Keplin, 31, who turned himself in to law enforcement authorities, was charged with counts of reckless endangerment and assault resulting in bodily injury. He has pleaded not guilty in tribal court, and may also face federal charges.

Prior reports that another suspect turned himself in on Nov. 27 could not be substantiated, and an investigation is ongoing.

Law enforcement officials have identified the victim as 29-year old Joel Sherman, who lived in Fargo and Bismarck before living in Belcourt. The circumstances that led to his death are still part of the investigation.

Sherman had a criminal record, which included arrests for drug-related felonies, assault and domestic abuse. He is the father of two children, including a 10-month-old daughter.

The investigation, as well as a manhunt, began when Belcourt police responded to reports of gunfire and that someone had been killed in the Eagle’s View subdivision at 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 27. Various law enforcement agencies were called in for cooperation with the manhunt, including the Rugby Police Department, which set up surveillance outside of Rugby. Schools and the hospital in Rugby were placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure.

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