MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota man convicted of killing four people in what authorities say was one of the most gruesome crimes in the state’s history was sentenced Tuesday to multiple life prison terms without the possibility of parole.
South Central District Judge David Reich sentenced Chad Isaak, 47, to consecutive life terms for each of his four murder convictions. One of Isaak’s lawyers had asked Reich to allow for the possibility of parole.
Isaak, wearing a blue mask, stood still and stared straight ahead as the judge delivered his verdicts. Before learning his fate, Isaak briefly addressed the court, saying “I can honestly tell you I’m not a murderer, and that’s all I have to say.”
A Morton County jury in August found Isaak guilty of killing RJR Maintenance and Management co-owner Robert Fakler, 52; and employees Adam Fuehrer, 42; Bill Cobb, 50; and his wife, Lois Cobb, 45.
The four were shot and stabbed on April 1, 2019, inside the property management company’s building in Mandan, a city of about 20,000 people across the Missouri River from Bismarck. Investigators said the victims were stabbed more than 100 times, total.
The jury deliberated for more than four hours at the end of the nearly three-week trial before it convicted Isaak of murder, burglary, unlawful entry into a vehicle, and a misdemeanor count of unauthorized use of a vehicle.
Isaak, a chiropractor and Navy veteran, lived at a Washburn property that the company managed, but a motive for the slayings was never established.
It was one of the most heinous crimes in North Dakota history, defense attorney Bruce Quick acknowledged during his opening statement. But he maintained that investigators didn’t seriously consider other possible suspects, including people who had either been evicted, sued or fired by RJR.
The defense also argued that police failed to check out the ex-husband of a woman who allegedly had an affair with Fakler.
Prosecutors showed security camera footage from numerous businesses that authorities said tracked Isaak’s white pickup truck from Mandan to Washburn on the day of the killings, along with footage from a week earlier that they said indicated the killer had planned out the attack.
Forensic experts testified that fibers on the clothing of the slain workers matched fibers taken from Isaak’s clothing, and that DNA evidence found in Isaak’s truck was linked to Fakler and possibly Lois Cobb.
Prosecutors presented the case as a puzzle in which all of the pieces pointed to Isaak, including a knife found in his washing machine and gun parts found in his freezer.