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Press Release

St. Michael, ND, Man Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison for Second-Degree Murder and Arson

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of North Dakota

FARGO – United States Attorney Mac Schneider, District of North Dakota, announced that Cody James Belgarde, age 37, from St. Michael, ND, was sentenced by Chief Judge Peter D. Welte to 327 months in prison following conviction at trial on charges of Second-Degree Murder and Arson.

In January of 2021, Belgarde shot and killed a boy who was two weeks past his seventeenth birthday. Belgarde then set fire to the house where the murder took place. In November of 2023, a jury found Belgarde guilty of Second-Degree Murder and Arson within Indian country.  The jury acquitted Belgarde on a charge of First-Degree Murder.

“The violent murder of this young man was as utterly senseless as it was brutal,” Schneider said. “No amount of time in prison can undo the heart-rending and pointless loss of life in this case, but we hope this sentence provides a measure of justice for the victim’s family. The United States Attorney’s Office is deeply committed to increasing public safety in Indian country, and we will continue to aggressively prosecute perpetrators of violent crime in tribal communities.” 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation; and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori H. Conroy and U.S. Attorney Mac Schneider, District of North Dakota.

Previous Press Release for this case can be found at:



Terry W. Van Horn  701-297-7400

Updated April 22, 2024