Prosecutors have charged the suspect in the deaths of four people at a property management company in North Dakota with four counts of murder.
Chad Isaak, 44, was arrested Thursday, days after the killings at the RJR Maintenance & Management company, according to Mandan Police Chief Jason Ziegler.
He made his initial appearance in court Friday where a judge explained the charges to him and set his bail at $1 million.
Isaak was not asked to enter a plea. He replied, “Yes, sir,” several times when he was asked at various points whether he understood what the judge had said.
CNN reached out to Robert Quick, Isaak’s attorney, but didn’t receive an immediate response.
In court, Quick argued for a smaller bail amount, saying Isaak has no prior criminal history and has lived in the community most of his life.
The maximum sentence in North Dakota is life without parole. There is no death penalty.
Video leads to the arrest
The bodies of three men and one woman were found around 7:30 a.m. Monday. They were identified as owner Robert Fakler, 52, and employees Adam Fuehrer, 42, Lois Cobb, 45, and William Cobb, 50. Two of the victims were husband and wife, police said Tuesday.
Initially, police did not know how they died, but Ziegler announced with the arrest that they suffered stab and/or gunshot wounds.
Hours of video surveillance led police to the arrest. According to an affidavit, the attacker is first seen in surveillance video from RJR at about 6:47 a.m. The suspect leaves the scene of the attack about 7 a.m. The person walks past a McDonald’s, where an employee sees the suspect get in a pickup.
On Thursday, law enforcement officers pulled Isaak over while he was driving a Ford F-150. During a search, police found what appeared to be blood, the affidavit says.
Evidence discovered at Isaak’s home includes nine shell casings. Police said they believe nine shots were fired at the crime scene. Detectives also found clothes that appeared to match the clothes worn by the person on the video and a business card for one of the victims.
The motive of the crimes is still unknown, Ziegler said.
Mandan is just across the Missouri River from Bismarck.
‘An owner and irreplaceable employees’
Robert Fakler’s widow, Jackie, held a news conference Friday afternoon with sobbing and distraught employees of the property management company.
She said the business would close Tuesday for a funeral service for the victims.
“Not only did we lose an owner and irreplaceable employees, we lost … some of our closest friends,” she said.
Fakler said trying to describe each person in a few words was “impossible.”
“Everyone had an impact in our lives,” she said.
She said her husband “was a monarch, he was RJR, he’s the one that started all this.”
“He was my kiss in the morning to wake me up. The best father to his kids and a great son to his mom,” she said.
Adam Fuehrer was “quiet, loyal and an all-around family man,” she said, who loved camping and spending time with his kids.
William Cobb was described as a “true cowboy” and the owner’s “long-lost brother and basically his twin.”
Fakler said Cobb’s wife, Lois, “brought joy into work every morning” greeting people with “you are my sunshine.” She also had an “infectious laugh” similar to Betty from “The Flintstones.”
Cobb and his wife had also just bought their dream home farm in December, Jackie said.