Supreme Court denies appeal of kidnapping, slaying convict

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Supreme Court has denied the appeal of a man serving life in prison for kidnapping and killing another man in Burleigh County in 2012.

John Clark Bridges argued in his appeal that mental illness prevented him from understanding the charges against him, aiding in his defense or filing a timely application for relief.

The justices ruled in part that Bridges had not presented evidence establishing that he suffers from a mental illness.

Bridges, who is in his early 50s, is serving a life sentence for the July 2012 murder of Lee Clay, along with 20 years for kidnapping Clay plus an additional 40 years for possessing contraband and stabbing a correctional officer at the North Dakota State Penitentiary with a knife fashioned out of a piece of metal in August 2013, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Bridges admitted to forcing Clay into his van on July 6, 2012, stabbing him and striking him with a hatchet during a struggle on Interstate 94. He pleaded guilty to the charges.

Bridges told investigators he met Clay and another man through work in Bismarck and planned to kill them after having a dream about them that made him suspicious.

The lower court ruled that Bridges’ applications for relief were untimely and that his competency was fully evaluated at the time of his convictions.