Minot Man Found Guilty in Fatal Concert Shooting: Faces Up to 10 Years in Prison

MINOT, North Dakota – A jury in North Central District Court has returned a guilty verdict for Travis McDermott, a Minot man charged with two felony counts. McDermott was accused of shooting and killing another man during a concert in May of last year. The jury found McDermott guilty after two days of testimony.

The charges McDermott faced were manslaughter and reckless endangerment. He had pleaded not guilty to both charges. The altercation that led to the shooting took place at a Minot bar in the early morning hours of May 14, 2023.

During the trial, the state presented witnesses and law enforcement, including Ciarra Wald, the girlfriend of the victim, Greyson Sletto. Sletto, a 32-year-old farmer and father of three, was in town to attend a birthday party. He and Wald had decided to attend a concert after another parent offered to look after their children for the night.

McDermott, the sole witness for the defense, testified that Sletto had been aggressive and “posturing to fight” before he brandished his concealed firearm. McDermott claimed that Sletto attempted to take his gun and threatened his life. However, Deputy State’s Attorney Tiffany Sorgen challenged McDermott on his firearm training and why he brought the weapon into the bar, despite it being illegal in North Dakota.

The jury ultimately sided with the prosecution, agreeing that McDermott had escalated the situation by bringing the gun and not backing off. McDermott now faces up to 10 years in prison for the manslaughter charge and five years for reckless endangerment. Sentencing is scheduled for May 6.

The case highlights the importance of responsible firearm use and adherence to the law. Bringing firearms into prohibited areas can lead to tragic consequences, as seen in this incident. The verdict also demonstrates the justice system’s commitment to holding individuals accountable for their actions, even in self-defense cases.

These events serve as a reminder for individuals to make informed decisions and prioritize de-escalation and personal safety. Ensuring the well-being of oneself and others should always be the top priority, and resorting to deadly force should only be a last resort. In this case, the jury found that McDermott’s actions did not meet the criteria for self-defense, highlighting the significance of assessing situations carefully and considering alternative actions to avoid life-altering consequences.