- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota man accused of stabbing his cousin during an attempted robbery on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation has pleaded not guilty.

Ryan Ironroad, 26, of Cannon Ball, is charged in federal court with felony murder and assault with a dangerous weapon. He entered his plea through a federal public defender and did not attend Monday’s hearing.

Authorities say Ironroad stabbed Clay Hagel, 29, of Fort Yates on Nov. 23. Hagel died from his injuries the next day.

The criminal complaint says the incident occurred as Hagel and others were making dinner. Witnesses told police a disguised man, later identified as Ironroad, demanded money before cutting Hagel on the arm and stabbing him in the stomach with a large serrated knife.

Ironroad admitted to police that he visited the Fort Yates residence on the day Hagel was killed, but denied stabbing him. Ironroad said he went to the house so he could find a man he had been arguing with and wanted to lure he man to a spot where he could attack him.

Trial is scheduled for Feb. 24 in Bismarck. It is expected to last two days.

Ironroad faces life in prison if he is convicted of the murder charge.

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