3 separate homicide cases proceed in South DakotaSIOUX FALLS (AP) — Separate homicide cases are proceeding in three South Dakota cities: Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Peever.
SIOUX FALLS (AP) — Separate homicide cases are proceeding in three South Dakota cities: Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Peever.
Sioux Falls police made an arrest Wednesday morning in the weekend slaying of Cresencio Conde-Vargas, 50, in his home. Robert Bass III, 22, of Sioux Falls, was charged with second-degree murder and an alternate count of first-degree manslaughter and was expected to appear in court Wednesday afternoon.
Investigators said the two men had recently become acquainted and were drinking together early Saturday when a fight broke out. Bass is accused of hitting Conde-Vargas in the head several times with a baseball bat. Conde-Vargas was found Monday when he did not show up for work.
The victim's daughter, Nancy Conde, told the Argus Leader newspaper that her father worked for a cabinetry company. He would have turned 51 years old on Thursday.
"I don't know who would ever want to hurt him," Nancy Conde said.
Lorenzo and Michelle Reta, owners of Nikki's La Mexicana grocery store, said Conde-Vargas was a regular customer, and when he visited the store he always had a story to share. The grocery store is about a block west of where Conde-Vargas lived.
"He was always very happy," Lorenzo Reta said. "Everybody here knew him. He would always try to help people when someone needed it."
Slayings are rare in South Dakota — just 21 murders and non-negligent homicides were reported in 2011 by the FBI.
No arrests have been made in the death of Eustacio Marrufo, 33, who was found shot to death Monday night at the South Dakota Rose Inn in Rapid City. Investigators say they are not sure why he was shot but they believe he was targeted.
"It isn't a random act; the public is safe," Police Capt. Doug Thrash said. "I truly believe that they knew each other and there was bad blood, I guess.
"We have a huge task force working this case with the (Pennington County) Sheriff's Office," he said. "I suspect now that the public knows who the victim is, we'll get more leads."
Marrufo had been living in Rapid City and Kansas. He was killed in an area of Rapid City where crime is common. Police last year responded to more than 250 calls at the South Dakota Rose Inn, mainly for drunken people, assaults and other disturbances, according to the media. The slaying still unsettled some in the neighborhood.
"Our thoughts and prayers are obviously with the family and those involved, and of course for the officers as well that have to respond and deal with those situations," neighboring business owner Linda Kelly told the media.
A judge has set bond at $250,000 for the suspect in the Peever homicide, according to the media. Patrick Hopkins, 23, is charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Adam LaFramboise at a home in the northeastern South Dakota community last Friday. Authorities did not immediately release further details. Hopkins could face death or life in prison if convicted.