Murder trial defendant testifies, defense wraps in Grand Forks trial

GRAND FORKS, North Dakota – The trial of a Grand Forks man accused of murder and tampering with evidence entered its third day with the defendant taking the stand to testify in his own defense on Monday. Kindi Jalloh, 40, faces charges related to the death of Douglas Elgert, 67, who was found dead in his home last May. Elgert had sustained stab wounds and a fatal blunt force injury to his head. Jalloh initially faced a Class C felony tampering charge for allegedly disposing of blood-stained evidence before being charged with the more severe Class AA felony murder.

The state presented 17 witnesses over the first two days of trial before calling its last three witnesses on Monday. Among them was Mallory Gage, a forensic examiner at the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia. Gage testified about DNA evidence linking Jalloh to the crime scene, indicating a potential match between Jalloh’s DNA and a sample collected from underneath Elgert’s fingernails. The trial also included testimony from Mike Gavere, a former detective with the Grand Forks Police Department, who described observing fresh scratches and dried blood on Jalloh during their interview on the day of the crime.

During his testimony, Jalloh claimed that he and Elgert had been drinking and watching television before he left the apartment for the night. He returned the next morning to find Elgert dead on the kitchen floor, initially believing that Elgert had simply fallen over due to intoxication. Jalloh’s defense argued that his inconsistencies and omissions during interviews were due to fear, but the state raised questions about the timing and nature of his statements.

The trial also included testimonies from neighbors and others who knew both Jalloh and Elgert, with conflicting accounts of their relationship and interactions leading up to the murder. The defense rested along with the state on Monday afternoon, setting the stage for closing instructions and arguments on the following day.

The trial will continue with closing instructions and arguments on Tuesday before the case goes to the jury for deliberation.