A Fargo man accused of killing his wife and staging her death as a suicide told a judge Monday he lost his job and needs a public defender.
Ronald Rogers Jr., 46, made his first appearance Monday in Cass County Court on charges of murder and willful disturbance of a dead body. He was not asked to enter a plea.
Authorities believe Rogers shot Elizabeth Rogers, 40, in the head and placed a pistol in her hand to make it look like a suicide. Police first received a call on the incident Tuesday night, but didn't charge Rogers until Friday.
In arguing for Rogers' bail to remain at $1 million, Assistant State's Attorney Tristan Van de Streek said Monday that Rogers told police he staged the scene.
"I think it's a strong case," Van de Streek said.
Cass County State's Attorney Birch Burdick declined afterward to talk about details of the case, but defended the high bail.
"The defendant doesn't have any ties to our community. He has not lived here very long," Burdick said. "He's got no job here, no particular reason to stay, every reason to flee."
Rogers, appearing via video from the Cass County jail, told Judge Lisa Fair McEvers he recently moved to Fargo after living in northern Idaho for eight years. Rogers said he lost his job and was evicted from his home.
Asked by the judge if she wanted him to appoint a public defender, Rogers said, "Yes, please."
Fair McEvers ordered that bail be kept at $1 million and scheduled a preliminary hearing for March 21.