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Texas man, Nebraska woman charged with murder in 2020 killing in Wagner

The pair were indicted by a federal grand jury in Sioux Falls and are both in custody.

The U.S. District Courthouse in Sioux Falls
One of South Dakota's United States Federal Courthouses is located at the intersection of 14th Street and Phillips Avenue in Sioux Falls.
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SIOUX FALLS — A Texas man and a Nebraska woman are facing federal murder charges in connection with a fatal stabbing in Wagner from 2020.

Alexis Delarosa, 31, of Plano, Texas, and Justina Tuttle, 37, of Niobrara, Nebraska, both recently appeared before in the U.S. District Courthouse in Sioux Falls for a plea entry to charges including second degree murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

Following their indictment this past September, Tuttle pleaded not guilty to all charges on Dec. 16, while Delarosa entered a not guilty plea to all charges on Jan. 10.

An investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation alleges that on or about Dec. 21, 2020, Delarosa and Tuttle murdered 41-year-old George Cournoyer, Jr., at his home upon the tribal lands of the Yankton Indian Reservation.

The indictment alleges the two assaulted Cournoyer, Jr., with a hammer and a baseball bat while aiding and abetting each other in his murder.

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Cournoyer, Jr., who had spent most of his life near Wagner, had served as a maintenance worker for the Yankton Sioux Housing Authority for over three years, according to his obituary . He left behind his daughter, who was 9 years old at the time of his death.

Following the plea entries of Delarosa and Tuttle, they were placed in state and federal custody, respectively.

Both are set to appear for a federal jury trial on March 15 at the U.S. District Courthouse in Sioux Falls.

If convicted, they could each be sentenced to serve up to life in prison plus pay a $250,000 fine.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021. After over a year in Mitchell, he moved to Milwaukee, where he now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on regional news that impacts the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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