WARREN, Minn. — A former North Dakota prosecutor and public defender has been charged with the murder of his ex-wife in far northwestern Minnesota.
Anders Odegaard, 31, was formally charged with second-degree murder in Marshall County District Court on Thursday.
Deputies were called to 128 Division St. S. on Tuesday afternoon for a report of a domestic disturbance in progress.
Two boys, later identified as sons of Anders and Carissa Odegaard, had stopped a man driving near their home and told the man their mother was inside the house, lying on the floor and bleeding badly.
One of the boys thought their mother was dead.
The first deputy who went in the house found Anders Odegaard wearing only underwear and had blood on his head, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case.
The deputy said he asked Anders Odegaard what was going on, and his reply was, “I don’t feel right.”
The deputy then spotted Carissa Odegaard on the floor and unresponsive in the doorway. When he checked on her, she was not breathing, and blood was pooling out of her head, the complaint said.
Police noticed the washing machine was running with a fresh load of clothing.
Deputies said they asked Anders Odegaard what happened, and his response again was “I don’t feel right.”
Deputies took the couple’s five children back to the sheriff’s office to be interviewed.
The youngest child told deputies he saw everything, because his mother was holding him during the attack, according to the criminal complaint.
The couple’s 9-year-old son said the attack started when his mother came to pick him up after he had stayed at the house the previous night. He said his father started attacking his mother with either a knife or spatula.
He told police that his father had beaten his mother in the past, but usually with his hands, the complaint said.
The couple’s 8-year-old son said the fight started when his mother came to pick up him and his brother for church. He said the fight started in the backyard, and his father did not want the kids to leave. He went on to tell officers that his parents were tackling each other, and then his father started choking his mother. He also told police that they had to clean blood off of their 3-year-old brother.
The couple’s other two children were in the car during the assault.
If convicted, Odegaard faces up to 40 years in prison.
The Odegaards finalized a divorce last year, and each had custody of the children.
They were due in court again next week for a divorce review hearing.
Anders Odegaard was appointed Mercer County, N.D., prosecutor in the summer of 2021, but he was fired after three months.
The county commission never stated publicly why he was let go.
He then served as a public defender in Stark County, N.D., and again was fired after a few months on the job.
According to a social media post by Gurstel Law Firm, Anders Odegaard was hired six months ago to work in their Golden Valley, Minn., office.
The firm confirmed he is no longer employed there.
The University of North Dakota law grad said he practiced criminal law, regulatory, session laws, securities litigation and investment contracts, in-house counsel compliance and family law.