Kalmio trial set to begin Wednesday

Jury selection for the trial of Omar Mohamed Kalmio, 28, who is charged with four class AA felony counts of murder, will begin Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Ward County Courthouse.

On Jan. 28, 2011, just short of two years ago, the body of Sabrina Zephier, 19, was found in her apartment on South Main Street. Her and Kalmio’s infant daughter was also found, unharmed, at the address.

Soon after, Minot’s Central Dispatch received another call reporting that Sabrina’s brother, Dylan Zephier, 13, was bleeding on the floor of a home in Jefferson Mobile Home Park. When police searched the home they also found the bodies of Sabrina and Dylan’s mother, Jolene Zephier, 38, and her boyfriend, Jeremy Longie, 22. All had apparently died as the result of gunshot wounds.

No suspect was declared in the murders for months.

On Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011, The Minot Daily News reported that “a man with a connection to the family found murdered” had been held in Ward County Jail the preceding two days before being turned over to U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials. The man was identified as Kalmio, a Somali-national who came to the Minot area by way of the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. At that time he was not charged for any involvement in the murders.

In early August, The Minot Daily News reported, Kalmio was arrested in the Grand Forks County jail for the murder of Sabrina Zephier while he was there for an immigrations hold. In October, Kalmio pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and authorities had still not established a suspect for the deaths of the other three slain that day.

It wasn’t until mid-May, 2012, that Kalmio was charged with the other murders. His trial for the single charge was canceled and a new preliminary hearing was scheduled.

Finally, in June 2012, Kalmio pleaded not guilty to each individual charge of class AA felony murder.

Court records from that point forward show many, many documents and changes to scheduling, canceled hearings, witness transport requests, and the full assortment of court processes and procedure needed for a major trial.

A request for extended media coverage was granted by Judge Douglas Mattson. A still camera used by The Minot Daily News and a video camera will both be allowed in the courtroom with restrictions in place.