- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A woman charged in North Dakota with killing her husband by means of drugs and asphyxiation was told Wednesday she will remain jailed on $500,000 bail, after making her first court appearance in the case.

Sherry Midstokke, 60, of Finley, is charged in East Central District Court with Class AA felony murder. Steele County Sheriff Wayne Beckman said the body of Lyle Midstokke, 66, was found Monday morning at his home after his wife called authorities.

Sherry Midstokke, who entered the courtroom Wednesday in handcuffs and leg shackles and dressed in orange Cass County Jail clothes, told Judge Steven Marquart she is not a flight risk or danger to the community and did not agree with half a million dollars for bail.

“It’s too high, and I can’t make it,” she said softly.

Steele County State’s Attorney Charlie Stock indicated in court that he wanted a mental evaluation of Midstokke before further discussion on bail. A status conference was set for Feb. 26.

“We want to protect her as much as the general public,” Stock said after the hearing.

Midstokke did not have a lawyer at Wednesday’s hearing but was expected to hire Fargo attorney Bruce Quick. Quick said he planned to meet with her later Wednesday.

Authorities said Midstokke admitted that she killed her husband. Court documents show police at the scene recovered items allegedly used to asphyxiate Lyle Midstokke.

No motive is listed in court documents. The couple had no history of domestic violence, Beckman said.

The charge against Midstokke carries a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Stock said Wednesday’s hearing was held in Fargo “just to get the matter rolling, so to speak” and allow Midstokke to appear as quickly as possible. He said future proceedings in this case should be held in Finley.

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