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UPDATE: Authorities say 25-year-old Woonsocket woman murdered

Supreme Court upholds Belle Fourche woman's embezzlement conviction

PIERRE (AP) -- The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld a Belle Fourche woman's conviction and sentence for stealing about $224,000 from her employer.

Sarah Schmidt was sentenced to 20 years in prison after she pleaded guilty but mentally ill to 10 counts of grand theft.

Schmidt argued that she should have been allowed to withdraw her plea because she was mentally ill and distressed. She also argued that her sentence violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

The Supreme Court says Schmidt knowingly and voluntarily entered her plea. The justices also say her sentence is not grossly disproportionate to her crime.

Authorities say Schmidt was the personal secretary for the president of Impak Corp. in Central City, and stole from the plastics manufacturer from January 2005 until April 2010.

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