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Chamberlain man charged with first-degree murder

Nicholas Yellow Lodge (Brule County Sheriff's Office)1 / 2
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CHAMBERLAIN — A 19-year-old Chamberlain man has been charged with first-degree murder after police say he hit a man in the head with “a large glass liquor bottle” over the weekend.

Nicholas Yellow Lodge made his initial appearance Monday morning at the Brule County Courthouse in Chamberlain. Court documents state Yellow Lodge killed David Hart at a residence, 313 E. King St., Chamberlain, after pushing Hart, punching him and hitting him four to five times with the glass bottle.

At Yellow Lodge’s initial appearance, a status hearing was set for later this month. Cash bond was set at $500,000.

Court documents say Chamberlain police received a report of a suspicious person at 10:23 p.m. Saturday. When an officer arrived at the area, he observed Yellow Lodge, who had blood on his cheek and clothing.

At that time, Yellow Lodge told authorities he was assaulted earlier that night. He later stated he was drinking with Hart earlier that night.

At approximately 3:50 Sunday morning, a Brule County jailer received information that “Dave” was beaten to death and robbed by “Nicky.”

Chamberlain police then went to David Hart’s residence for a welfare check. An officer discovered Hart was deceased in his residence and noted a number of injuries and bruises to Hart’s body.

Chamberlain police then went to Yellow Lodge’s apartment and detained him.

At 9:25 a.m. Sunday, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation special agents met with Yellow Lodge at the Brule County Jail. Yellow Lodge allegedly admitted to drinking with Hart during the late evening hours of Saturday. Yellow Lodge indicated he was intoxicated. He also stated Hart was intoxicated and high.

“According to Yellow Lodge,” court documents state, “Hart became upset over some missing money and began assaulting Yellow Lodge. Eventually, Yellow Lodge indicated that he pushed, punched and hit Hart in the head with a large glass liquor bottle approximately 4-5 times. Yellow Lodge also eventually admitted that Hart wasn’t responding when he left.”

Court documents say a search warrant was conducted at both Yellow Lodge’s and Hart’s apartments. Found at Yellow Lodge’s apartment were a T-shirt and tennis shoes, which appeared to have a substance consistent with dried blood. They were the same shirt and shoes Yellow Lodge was wearing when a Chamberlain officer contacted him on Saturday night, according to court documents.

At Hart’s apartment were a number of bloody shoe prints that matched the tread pattern of the shoes at Yellow Lodge’s apartment. Also found was a large glass bottle covered with a substance similar to dried blood.

Doug Papendick was appointed Yellow Lodge’s defense attorney.

According to South Dakota Codified Law, first-degree murder is committed with “a premeditated design to affect the death of the person killed” and second-degree murder is committed “non-premeditated.”

First-degree murder is punishable upon conviction by death or life imprisonment in the state penitentiary and a fine of $50,000. 

This is Yellow Lodge’s first criminal charge, according to a search of background records from the South Dakota Unified Judicial System.