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Hearing set in murder case

A murder suspect's request to change his plea is delaying the case.

Jeffrey Allan Brooks, 52, of Alexandria, was scheduled to be sentenced in Todd County District Court on Monday, February 13.

That didn't happen.

Instead, a hearing about his motion to withdraw his guilty plea is now set to take place in Todd County District Court on Tuesday, February 28 at 2:30 p.m.

Last November, Brooks entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder charges in the death of 51-year-old Diane Fortenberry of Osakis, who was killed on May 20, 2011.

However, earlier this month, the case took a twist when Brooks tried to change his plea.

In a letter submitted to the court and his own court-appointed attorneys on Tuesday, February 7, Brooks accused his attorneys of misconduct, claiming they lied to him and intentionally delayed his case. He requested his attorneys to be removed.

Brooks also claimed that he felt pressured to enter a plea and didn't have enough time to consider his options.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, said that Brooks had ample time to weigh his plea options and urged for the case to move forward.

Judge Jay Carlson is considering motions and is also trying to determine whether new defense counsel should be appointed or if Brooks will represent himself.

Brooks was arrested in Alexandria on May 27, 2011 - one week after Fortenberry was brutally assaulted at her home while interrupting a burglary in process.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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