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LAKE ANDES -- As Laurie Cournoyer spoke of her crimes, she wept. "I chose to put that needle in my vein," she said, addressing the court. "Now for the rest of my life I have to live with that choice I made." She was sentenced to 22 years in prison on multiple charges Thursday morning at the Charles Mix County Courthouse in Lake Andes. Cournoyer, 29, was arrested with her husband, Taylor Cournoyer, 22, on July 4 after 2-year-old Rielee Lovell was found dead in a closet in their home at a Yankton Sioux tribal housing project near Wagner.
PRESHO -- The attorney for a Presho man accused of kidnapping and abusing his 10-year-old daughter has asked a federal judge to move an upcoming jury trial to Aberdeen. Edward G. Albright, attorney for Clint Brown, filed a motion Monday in U.S. District Court for South Dakota asking a federal judge to move Brown's trial, which is currently scheduled to begin next month, from Pierre to Aberdeen. In support of his motion, Albright argues pretrial publicity of the case "will unfairly prejudice" Brown's right to a fair trial, court documents say.
A Mitchell man was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison on two counts of attempted possession of child pornography. Mark Johnson, 55, received the maximum sentence allowed for his crimes, five years in prison on each count to be served consecutively. Johnson was also fined a total of $2,000. In January, Johnson pleaded guilty to two charges and in exchange prosecutors agreed to dismiss a charge of sexual contact with a minor.
PARKSTON -- An 18-year-old man who was involved in an armed standoff with police earlier this month in Parkston now faces new, more severe charges. Nicholas Heisinger, of Parkston, was initially charged with simple assault on a law enforcement officer, a felony with a maximum punishment of two years in prison and a $4,000 fine, and obstructing law enforcement, a misdemeanor, following his March 2 arrest after an armed standoff with police, but those charges have now been changed. In a complaint filed Wednesday, Heisinger is charged with aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer, a felo
Avera has agreed to lease half of the former Verifications Inc. building for a new payment center the health care company plans to open in Mitchell. Bryan Hisel, executive director of the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce and Mitchell Area Development Corp., said Friday that Avera has agreed to enter a five-year lease agreement with MADC for approximately 9,200 square feet of the 18,400-square-foot office building, located at 1308 W. 15th Ave., just off the state Highway 37 bypass. Avera announced plans for the payment center last August.
A local chiropractor has denied accusations from a local woman who claims a neck adjustment caused her to suffer a stroke. In a two-page answer filed Monday, Gary Hendrix, a chiropractor with an office located at 310 N. Lawler St. in Mitchell, denies that a neck adjustment he performed on Christie Gunkel caused her to have a stroke. Gunkel, who recently became treasurer of Davison County, filed a lawsuit in January claiming a neck adjustment she received from Hendrix on Aug. 8 caused a "dissection," or tear, in an artery in her neck, resulting in a stroke.
There was a time when Interstate 90 was south of Mitchell. It took a combination of "men, steel, concrete and clay" to bring I-90 to Mitchell, said a June 16, 1966, edition of The Daily Republic. When I-90 opened in 1967, it quietly passed by the city through fields to the south. And year after year, it seemed to stay that way. "For a long time, I didn't understand why it didn't build up," said Lyle Swenson, president of the Mitchell Area Historical Society and former Davison County sheriff.
GEDDES -- A Nebraska man was arrested Thursday for allegedly stealing nearly $17,000 worth of soybeans from the Farmers Co-op Elevator in Geddes. Jeff Eckert, 54, of Pilger, Neb., is charged with one count of grand theft for allegedly stealing 1,175 bushels of soybeans worth $16,941.41, according to a release issued Thursday by the Charles Mix County Sheriff's Office. At approximately 4:30 a.m., a Geddes resident observed a semi with a trailer loading grain at the elevator and reported it to authorities.
Farmers must consider all their investment options before buying highly priced farmland, one expert says. "It's about the bushels, not the acres," said Michael Swanson, a Wells Fargo agricultural economist, to a crowd of more than 100 gathered Wednesday at the Highland Conference Center in Mitchell. "Reality says you don't want to buy more land," Swanson said. "You want to buy more corn." The farm economy is still growing, but the growth rate has slowed from what it once was, Swanson said. "We have to be prepared for more volatility," he said.
Miami Heat basketball player and Mitchell native Mike Miller is part of a nationwide group of investors allegedly duped out of a combined $10.5 million in a Ponzi scheme run by a South Dakota man and his New Jersey business partner. In a complaint filed March 1 by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Randy Hansen, 64, of Sioux Falls, and Vincent Puma, 41, of Morganville, N.J., are accused of luring investors to RAHFCO Hedge Funds, which they allegedly said "traded options and futures on the S&P 500." The SEC claims the two men "misrepresented their trading success" and "misused investo