Evidence shows death of rancher was allegedly a hit ordered by motorcycle gangThe death of rancher Jack Sjol was allegedly a hit ordered by a motorcycle gang called Sons of Silence, according to previously unreleased evidence that was revealed Monday at a preliminary hearing.
By: By Larry Griffin, Williston Herald, The Jamestown Sun
WILLISTON, N.D. — The death of rancher Jack Sjol was allegedly a hit ordered by a motorcycle gang called Sons of Silence, according to previously unreleased evidence that was revealed Monday at a preliminary hearing.
Williston resident Ryan Lee Stensaker, 33, is charged with Class AA murder in connection with Sjol’s death, plus additional felonies including prohibited possession of a firearm.
Sjol’s longtime girlfriend, Kelly Blomberg, reported April 25 that she believed him to be missing.
The evidence revealed Monday included:
* A tip by a confidential informant led law enforcement to a dump site on the property of Issac and Teresa Steen, where Sjol’s body was found with bullet wounds to his head, face and left upper arm, on May 14.
* Issac Steen said Stensaker had come to him almost three weeks prior and asked to use the dump site to “discard a coyote he’d hit,” Detective Sgt. Amanda McNamee reported. Stensaker returned the next day and asked the same thing yet again, to which Issac Steen again gave his approval. Later that evening, Stensaker returned and discarded what the Steens thought was “the trash.”
* According to Isaac Steen, when interviewed by law enforcement, Stensaker had confided in him that he and “a couple of his buddies” were hired by the Sons of Silence outlaw motorcycle gang to perform a hit on Sjol.
* At Sjol’s residence, investigators found two pools of blood, three ammo casings, body tissue, teeth and a pair of eyeglasses. Dental records confirmed the teeth to be Sjol’s. The ammunition came from a .300 Savage bolt action rifle.
* A .300 Savage bolt action rifle was found in Stensaker’s mother’s house, also in Williston, under a mattress in a room that Stensaker often slept in — even though he had his own residence elsewhere. McNamee reported that the only bullet recovered from Sjol’s body had not been confirmed to be from the rifle.
* Tire tracks found at the dump site, directly above where Sjol’s body was uncovered, matched tracks found backed up to the pools of blood at Sjol’s residence, which in turn matched Stensaker’s Cadillac Escalade.
Stensaker is one of six people arrested in the case.
Issac Steen and his sister Teresa Steen were charged with facilitation of murder, and Amber Jensen was charged with hindering law enforcement, both Class C felony charges. Jeremy Weyrauch and Ronald Gibbons were charged with Class AA felony conspiracy to commit murder.
All the suspects are Williston-area residents except Gibbons, who is from Washington state.
Stensaker was represented by attorney Steven Mottinger, and the state by attorney Nathan Kirke Madden. Judge David Nelson presided over the hearing.
The hearing ended with a proposed 12-person jury trial for the charges against Stensaker.