Published March 14, 2023

Verdict Reached in Gun Battle Chase 

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan
Donald Lee Cooper, Jr. (Photo: submitted)
Donald Lee Cooper, Jr. (Photo: submitted)

Not guilty on all counts 

MINOT – It was unanimous on all four counts – not guilty. 

That was the decision reached by a 7-woman, 5-man jury in North Central District Court here shortly after noon Tuesday. 

Donald Lee Cooper was facing four felony counts. They were AA felony Accomplice to Murder, A felony Attempted Murder, and C felonies Reckless Endangerment and Terrorizing. The charges stemmed from a high-speed car chase and shooting in northwest Minot in January 2020. 

Cooper, clad in a gray sweater and dark pants, stood as the verdict was read on each of the four counts. The verdict was reached after approximately 12 hours of deliberations that began Monday afternoon and lasted until the judge was notified a verdict had been reached at 12:10 p.m. Tuesday. 

Defense attorney Jeff Bredahl, Fargo, shook hands with Lee and the two exchanged a hug following the reading of the verdict. Judge Gary Lee thanked the jury for their work in the trial that began on March 6 and excused them from the courtroom. 

Lee told Cooper that the matter was concluded in Ward County but that he would be remanded to the county jail where he would await extradition to Wisconsin to begin a 25-year sentence there on a previous conviction. 

Ward County Assistant State’s Attorney Tiffany Sorgen told Lee that Cooper was still facing a B misdemeanor charge because of a fight in the jail. The state was asking for a 30-day sentence on that charge. Judge Lee called the attorneys to the bench in an apparent attempt to resolve the matter, then announced the matter would be brought before Judge Todd Cresap in mid-April, barring any other resolution to the charge. 

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