Travis Eugene Yoney, 48, Minot, entered an Alford plea on Thursday in district court in Minot to Class A felony attempted murder.
Yoney had originally been convicted and sentenced to prison for trying to kill a confidential informant in August 2018, whom Yoney blamed for his conviction for dealing marijuana. Yoney went to the man’s mobile home and fired a shot through the closed door. Then, when the male victim tackled him, the gun went off again during the struggle and the bullet lodged in the roof.
The Supreme Court ruled that Yoney should get a new trial because of problems with the instructions given to the jury at that trial. Yoney went to trial on the Class A felony attempted murder charge in June but the case ended in mistrial. A new trial was scheduled for Friday but, on Thursday, Yoney agreed to enter the Alford plea in exchange for a reduced sentence.
The Alford plea means that he maintains his innocence but recognizes he could be found guilty if the case went to trial.
Judge Gary Lee agreed to the plea deal and sentenced him to 20 years in prison on the attempted murder charge, with a requirement that Yoney serve 12 years, followed by five years of supervised probation. Yoney will have to serve 85% of the sentence under state law. He also received credit for 1,483 days already served in prison, plus 50 days off the sentence for his good behavior in the Ward County Jail and whatever “good time” he is entitled to for his behavior in the penitentiary.
Yoney had originally been sentenced in August 2019 to 30 years in prison and required to serve 20 years, followed by five years of supervised probation, after he was convicted of the Class A felony attempted murder charge by a jury in April 2019. He also was convicted of burglary, terrorizing, reckless endangerment, felon in possession of a firearm, all Class C felonies, and Class A misdemeanor violation of a protection order and was sentenced to five years on each charge, all concurrent with the sentence for attempted murder. The offenses took place on Aug. 23, 2018.
Ward County Assistant State’s Attorney Leah Viste told Judge Lee on Thursday that the victims in the case have been consulted and agreed to the plea deal on the attempted murder charge. Although it wasn’t exactly what they wanted, they just want to move on, said Viste.
Judge Lee ordered Yoney to have no contact with the victims or their two young children for at least 17 years. Yoney’s attorney, Ashley Gulke, said the no-contact order is fine with Yoney.