- Associated Press - Friday, February 5, 2016

MANDAN, N.D. (AP) - A Mandan man accused of killing a friend and setting a mobile home on fire to cover up the crime has been convicted on a lesser charge.

Rodney Friesz was initially charged with murder and arson. A Morton County jury on Friday found the 50-year-old man guilty of manslaughter and arson after deliberating for nearly eight hours.

Authorities allege Friesz shot 62-year-old Gene Jassmann in the head with a .22-caliber rifle after the two argued, then lit the home on fire.

Defense attorney Monty Mertz maintained throughout the trial that Friesz acted in self-defense. Prosecutor Brian Grosinger argued that a person acting in self-defense doesn’t light a home on fire.

Mertz says the maximum penalty for each felony charge is 10 years in prison.

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