Killer of North Dakota college student taken off death row, transferred to Florida prison

June 20, 2023

SUMTERVILLE, FL (KFGO KVRR) – A man who spent nearly 17 years on death row for the kidnapping and death of UND student Dru Sjodin has been transferred to a federal prison in Florida.

Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr. was being held in the Special Confinement Unit at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Rodriguez was taken to USP Coleman II, a high security facility in Sumterville, Florida.

Rodriguez was convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court in Fargo in 2006. For years, attorneys who specialize in overturning federal death penalty cases filed numerous appeals on Rodriguez’s behalf.

In 2021, Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Ralph Erickson dismissed the death penalty and ordered a new sentencing phase. Erickson found that misleading testimony and limitations on mental health evidence violated Rodriguez’s rights.

Rodriguez’s sentence was reduced to life in prison without parole after Attorney General Merrick Garland withdrew the federal government’s notice of intent to seek the death penalty.