Guilty plea likely for Fargoan charged with killing wife in failed suicide pact
FARGO — A guilty plea from Louis Donald Averson, accused of killing his wife on June 2 as part of a suicide pact, appears to be a strong possibility, according to court records.
The 85-year-old is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on a murder charge at 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 11, but a pre-sentence investigation (PSI) has already started.
Typically, a PSI is done after a defendant pleads guilty.
Court records show his attorneys and prosecutors requested an abbreviated PSI, and the court agreed June 21, ordering the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to complete the report within 21 days, which is July 12.
"The parties stipulate that the Court can review the report prior to the entry of a guilty plea by the Defendant," the order said.
The murder charge Averson faces carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
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Messages The Forum left with prosecutor Tanya Martinez and public defender Monty Mertz were not returned.
Averson and his wife, Ila Mae Lou Averson, both 85, allegedly left a will on their dining room table June 1 in their south Fargo apartment and went to their garage to run their car in a failed attempt to poison themselves with carbon monoxide, according to police. Both were in ill health.
Early on the morning of June 2, Louis Averson shot his wife in the chest with a .38-caliber revolver, killing her, and then shot himself in the chest, but survived, authorities said.
When he was arraigned June 5, the judge went to his hospital room at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo.
Averson remains hospitalized outside of Fargo, though medical privacy laws prevent disclosure of where he is, said Andrew Frobig, who runs the Cass County Jail. The defendant is physically able to attend court hearings in person if he chooses not to waive them, Frobig said.