A Minnesota lawyer accused of beating his ex-wife to death in front of their children has been charged with second-degree murder.
An 8-year-old who witnessed Tuesday’s deadly assault told officials that his parents had been arguing about whether his mother, Carissa Odegaard, could take the children to church, according to a probable cause statement filed in Minnesota’s 9th Judicial District Court.
Anders Odegaard, 31, did not want her to, the child told authorities, according to the complaint. The child said his parents also fought about his 2-year-old brother, whom his mother was holding during the assault, according to the document.
The couple had five children together beginning in 2013 and divorced last year, according to a court filing. Carissa Odeegard was awarded sole physical custody of the children, and they were both given joint legal custody.
Anders Odegaard was identified in the filing as the state’s attorney for Mercer County, North Dakota. It wasn’t clear if he still worked for the office. A message seeking comment was not immediately returned.
According to the statement, the children had stayed with their father the night before in the small northern Minnesota city of Warren. When their mother came to pick them up at 5 p.m. the next day, they got into a fight that began outside and moved into the home, one of the children told authorities, according to the statement.
Anders Odegaard grabbed a knife or spatula and struck his ex-wife, one of the children said. Another child told authorities his parents were “tackling” each other, and he could see that his mother was cut, according to the statement. The boy also saw his father choking his mother, who told him to call 911, the statement said.
“There was a lot a blood all over, and he stepped over his mom,” the statement said. “He said that he did tap on this mother’s foot, but she didn’t respond to the touch.”
One of the children grabbed the 2-year-old from their mother and two of them flagged down a passerby who called 911, according to the statement.
When deputies arrived at Anders Odegaard’s home, he was wearing boxer briefs and offered one response to their questions, “I don’t feel right,” according to the court document.
It wasn’t immediately clear if he has a lawyer to speak on his behalf.
Carissa Odegaard was taken to a hospital in Fargo, North Dakota, where she was found to have “no significant brain function.”
Her grandfather told NBC affiliate KVLY of Fargo on Wednesday that she had died.