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Homeless man on trial for murder in Sioux Falls

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Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — A jury in Sioux Falls is being asked to decide which of two homeless men is responsible for the death of a campmate last year.

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Eugene "Eddie" Martin, 45, faces charges of first-degree murder and manslaughter in the May 3, 2012, death of Robert Thunder Hawk. Prosecutors allege Martin killed Thunder Hawk with a shovel during a drunken dispute.

Another campmate, Clint Cottonwood, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in June for his role in Thunder Hawk's death. Cottonwood told a judge that Thunder Hawk had been insulting Martin's girlfriend before the killing.

Martin's lawyers intend to argue that their client did not deliver the fatal blow, the Argus Leader newspaper reported (http://argusne.ws/16P3TJt ). While questioning potential jurors to screen for biases, deputy public defender Mike Miller told them they would be asked to decide who killed Thunder Hawk.

"This is, I guess, what you'd call one of those 'whodunnit' cases. You'll have to decide who was the one who did the crime," Miller said.

The trial is scheduled for two weeks. Opening statements were set Thursday.

Martin would face a mandatory life sentence if convicted of murder. The manslaughter charge carries the potential of a life sentence. Cottonwood's plea agreement with prosecutors caps his prison time at 25 years.

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