Ready for viewing
Transcripts from the two-week long murder trial of Valentino Bagola are now available on Pacer, the government database for court documents. Clocking in at 1,607 pages, the transcripts are contained in 10 separate volumes. Much of what is included in them can be defined as trial minutiae — lengthy testimonies from law enforcement officials, medical examiners, witnesses, family, friends and scores of others who in ways large and small dealt with the deaths of Travis DuBois Jr. and Destiny Shaw.
Over the coming weeks I’ll be reading through the volumes in the hopes of learning more about the crime, Bagola’s possible motive, the other initial suspects in the two children’s deaths and life at that time on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation — all in preparation to travel there for a story to run in the March edition of VICE magazine.
I’ve also reached out to Bagola himself, who remains in a maximum security prison in Tucson, Arizona, where he is serving the two life sentences handed down last year in a Fargo courtroom. I hope to speak with him soon in order to see how he’s adjusted to prison life. The last time I saw him was through bulletproof glass at the Cass County Jail on a cold, North Dakota night two weeks before my and Tino’s shared birthday — February 9.
January 25 will mark a year since that meeting, and I don’t expect to see Bagola any time soon. But I do want to speak with him, just as I have since last October when I became obsessed with the deaths of his two cousins, ages 7 and 9. When I travel north next month I will, for the first time, seek out the home where DuBois Jr. and Shaw were killed. I will also step foot on the reservation for the first time and, if all goes to plan, meet with the children’s mother, Mena. We’ve spoken a few times since summer came to an end, and I look forward to meeting her in person.