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Prosecutors likely won't seek death penalty against Davidson

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news Mitchell, 57301
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

CHAMBERLAIN -- Prosecutors do not intend to seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing a Mitchell woman in March, according to court documents filed Friday.

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A notice filed Friday by Assistant Attorney General Bob Mayer says the state does not intend to seek the death penalty against Kent Davidson if he is convicted.

Davidson, 36, is accused of fatally shooting 26-year-old Crystal Schulz in the head with a shotgun on March 11. Schulz's body was found March 14 in a shed at her mother's residence in rural Chamberlain. Davidson and Schulz were engaged to be married, according to their Facebook pages.

In Friday's notice, the state noted it reserves the right to seek the death penalty in Davidson's case "in the event of an unforeseen significant change in circumstances."

At a hearing last week in Chamberlain, Judge Bruce Anderson asked prosecutors to decide this week whether to seek the death penalty against Davidson, who is set to stand trial in January.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley was not available for comment Friday afternoon, according to spokeswoman Sara Rabern.

First-degree murder has a minimum punishment of life in prison with the option of a death sentence, which is by lethal injection.

Prosecutors have also accused Davidson of being a habitual offender because of five prior felony convictions on his record.

Davidson has already been sentenced to five years in prison, which was reimposed by the South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles for his failure to return to a minimum-security facility where he was living while on parole last year.

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