- Associated Press - Friday, June 15, 2018

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A convicted killer in North Dakota who walked away from a halfway house should not have been released from jail, the Fargo police chief said Friday.

Authorities said Sean Schroeder, 29, of Dunseith left Wednesday from Centre, Inc. in Fargo, where he was scheduled to complete a two-week furlough for a psychiatric evaluation. Schroeder’s public defender said the move was needed to accommodate the schedule of Schroeder’s doctor.

Fargo Police Chief Dave Todd declined to be interviewed by The Associated Press, but told KFGO radio that Schroeder is “dangerous and violent” and warned the public not to approach him. Schroeder pleaded guilty in the May 2017 beating death of Chad Warren on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation.

“Considering the violence of the crime that was involved here, I am left shaking my head also wondering why this person was not in a secure facility,” Todd said. “I do not know the answer to that. This was apparently a decision that the court made for whatever reason and I am not privy to that reason.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge Alice Senechal, who approved the furlough on May 31, did not return a phone message Friday seeking comment.

The government did not object to the motion for Schroeder’s furlough. U.S. Attorney Chris Myers said in a statement that many defendants facing federal charges are placed on release and most of them do not flee because of the additional penalties they could face.

“I am confident law enforcement will arrest Mr. Schroeder and he will wish that he had not made the choice to abscond,” Myers said.

In January, Senechal denied Schroeder’s original motion for release after prosecutors objected because of Schroeder’s criminal history and the nature of the crime. Senechal said in that document that placing Schroeder at a residential re-entry center would ensure the safety of the community, but funding was not available at the time.

Schroeder’s plea agreement on the voluntary manslaughter charge states that a witness saw Schroeder drag Warren’s body outside of a residence and saw Schroeder stomping on the victim’s head. An autopsy showed that Warren died from blunt force injuries to the head and neck.

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