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Death penalty not sought in Mitchell man’s murder trial

Mitchell resident Anthony Lewis, 49, is escorted into court on Aug. 22, 2017 at the Davison County Public Safety Center. (Matt Gade / Republic)

The death penalty will not be sought in an upcoming murder trial for a Mitchell man accused of stabbing another man to death.

On Wednesday at the Davison County Public Safety Center, 49-year-old Anthony Lewis appeared in front of Judge Chris Giles, represented by defense attorneys Chris Nipe and Zachary Flood.

According to Davison County State’s Attorney Jim Miskimins, the parents of victim Quinn Patrick Schleuning have decided to not seek the death penalty against Lewis, who is facing first- and second-degree murder chargers. First-degree murder is a Class A felony, punishable upon conviction by death or life imprisonment in the state penitentiary and a fine of $50,000.  

In September, Lewis pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree murder. Lewis allegedly stabbed 30-year-old Schleuning four times on Aug. 22 at a residence on East Second Avenue in Mitchell, according to an affidavit filed by Mitchell police.

In addition to the request to not seek the death penalty, several items in relation to the upcoming jury trial were discussed.

The defense is seeking approval of $25,000 from the court to hire a crime reconstruction expert. According to Nipe, the alleged confrontation between Lewis and Schleuning was not videotaped other than a two-second video which is partially obstructed. A request to have a crime reconstruction expert is essential to determine what happened during the incident on Aug. 22, Nipe said.

Giles granted approval for $5,000 to hire a crime reconstruction expert to do a preliminary report.

“I do anticipate the defense asking to supplement the budget depending on the findings of the initial review,” Giles said.   

The defense’s request to change venue for the jury trial is still waiting review, according to Giles.

The court is in the process of reviewing jury questionnaires before determining if a change of venue is appropriate.

The next hearing to discuss the status of expert testimony needed for trial is scheduled for March 13. Lewis remains in custody at the Davison County Jail, with bond set at $500,000.

Second-degree murder is a Class B felony, punishable upon conviction by up to life in prison and a $50,000 fine.

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