How much time? Criminal sentences can spark backlash, but guidelines are set by state commission
BEMIDJI—One month after a jury found him guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, Brian Keith Jourdain once again stood in front of Judge Paul Benshoof, this time to find out how long he would spend in prison.
The criminal complaint against Jourdain, which described how he stabbed his girlfriend, Krista Marie Fisherman, and left her in the Paul Bunyan Mall parking lot where she died, listed the maximum penalty for second-degree unintentional murder as 40 years in prison. But as Jourdain's lawyer, John Schmid, and Beltrami County Attorney Annie Claesson Huseby argued for different sentences, it became clear that the statutory maximum bore little resemblance to the amount of time Jourdain could actually serve.
Schmid asked Benshoof to sentence Jourdain to 10 years and eight months in prison, while Claesson-Huseby asked for a 15-year sentence. Benshoof settled on a sentence of 12 years and six months, with Jourdain eligible for supervised release after eight years and four months.