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Death certificate available in Benda death

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News Mitchell, 57301
The Daily Republic
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Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — The death certificate for former state economic development director Richard Benda says he shot himself by pushing the trigger of a shotgun with a stick.

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The Argus Leader obtained the document Wednesday.

The certificate says Benda secured the shotgun against a tree and used a stick to press the trigger and shoot himself in the abdomen.

Benda was found Oct. 22 in a grove of trees near Lake Andes, in southeast South Dakota.

Attorney General Marty Jackley announced autopsy results last week indicating it was suicide.

Benda served as secretary of Tourism and State Development from 2006 to 2010 under former Gov. Mike Rounds.

State investigators say that during that time, Benda double-billed the state for three flights, valued at about $5,500.

He also was the loan monitor for Northern Beef Packers.

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