- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - The attorney for a Missouri man accused of pointing a loaded rifle at a sheriff’s deputy during an October car chase in northern North Dakota says an attempted murder charge against his client doesn’t fit.

Authorities say evidence indicates that Brandon Bradford, 35, of Archie, Missouri, might have tried to fire the gun.

The Ward County Sheriff’s Department says Deputy Sam Kaul tried to stop Bradford in the early morning hours of Oct. 17 on U.S. Highway 2 between Minot and Berthold because he was driving a vehicle with no right-side tires, only rims. Kaul alleges Bradford pointed a rifle at her during an ensuing chase.

Authorities found two loaded semiautomatic rifles in Bradford’s vehicle. Kaul testified during a court hearing Tuesday that bullet evidence indicates Bradford might have tried to fire one of the rifles, but that it jammed.

Kaul also said she was told that testing by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was inconclusive, and she acknowledged that it did not appear Bradford was sighting the rifle when he appeared to be pointing it at her.

Defense attorney Ryan Sandberg argued that evidence in the case doesn’t support an attempted murder charge - that terrorizing might be more appropriate. Ward County State’s Attorney Roza Larson said prosecutors have met the burden of probable cause, and Judge Stacy Louser agreed and allowed the attempted murder charge to stand.

Bradford pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder charge, a felony fleeing charge and misdemeanor driving and weapons offenses. He could face more than 25 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Louser on Tuesday refused a defense request to lower Bradford’s $500,000 bond. She did not immediately set a trial date.

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