BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A man charged with fatally shooting another man and wounding a woman at a late-summer wedding dance in New Rockford had once dated the woman, court documents show, but authorities say they will not discuss whether jealousy was a possible motive.
The two victims had not known one another before that night, though they did spend time together on the dance floor, according to attorneys who have filed civil lawsuits on behalf of the woman who was shot and the family of the man killed.
David Troske, 51, of New Rockford, is accused of fatally shooting Donald Perleberg, 41, of Pingree, in the back of the head with a .22-caliber revolver on Sept. 6 at the Eagles Club in New Rockford, where nearly 100 people had gathered for the wedding reception. Authorities allege he then shot Mary Seiler in the neck and stomach area before dropping the gun and surrendering. Seiler spent about two weeks in a Bismarck hospital recovering, according to her civil lawsuit against Troske.
Seiler's attorney in her civil suit, Daniel Dunn, told The Associated Press that Seiler was not in a relationship with Perleberg.
"They danced to a few songs together at the wedding dance taking place at the Eagle's Club," he said. "They happened to be seated at the same table when the shooting took place."
Attorney Jeffrey Hanig, who is representing members of Perleberg's family in a separate civil lawsuit against Troske, said, "there was no relationship between Donald Perleberg and Mary Seiler." Eddy County Sheriff Paul Lies confirmed that was the case "to the best of my knowledge."
"They were acquaintances that met that night at the wedding dance," he said.
Troske faces charges of murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment, along with a misdemeanor weapons count. He could face life in prison without parole if convicted on the murder charge. He could enter pleas to the charges at a Dec. 18 hearing. His attorney in both the criminal and civil cases, Alexander Reichert, did not respond to an AP request for comment.
Court documents indicate Troske and Seiler had previously dated and at one point had lived together on Troske's farm. Authorities are not discussing if that relationship might be linked to the shooting.
"We have a possible motive; we're just not releasing it," Lies said. "We want to maintain the trial here in Eddy County, and in order for us not to damage the jury pool we're not releasing any more on the relationship."
In her civil suit, Seiler seeks damages of more than $50,000 for medical expenses, loss of income, and "pain, suffering, emotional distress and mental anguish."
The civil complaint for wrongful death filed by Perleberg's son, mother and sister also seeks at least $50,000 in damages.
Troske, in court documents filed by Reichert, denies the allegations in both civil suits and asks that they be dismissed.