Harrold man sentenced to 7 years in prison for 2020 standoff with local, federal authorities

Court documents say the man, on escape status from a Yankton corrections facility, barricaded himself in a bedroom and brandished a knife.

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PIERRE — A Harrold man will spend the next seven years in federal prison after he was convicted of assaulting a federal officer after escaping from a corrections facility and stealing a state vehicle.

Richard Barela, 31, of Harrold, was sentenced Tuesday to 84 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, plus ordered to pay a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.

Court documents say that in January 2020, Barela was an inmate at the Yankton Community Work Center (YCWC), a minimum security South Dakota Department of Corrections (DOC) facility. At the time, Barela was serving a sentence for possession of a controlled substance based on a conviction in Hughes County.

On Jan. 3, 2020, authorities say Barela escaped from YCWC and stole a vehicle belonging to DOC. A warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest. On Jan. 14, 2020, law enforcement received information that Barela was located at a residence in Pierre. Authorities with the U.S. Marshals Service, Hughes County Sheriff’s Office and Pierre Police Department proceeded to the residence to execute the arrest warrant.

After receiving consent to search the residence, multiple law enforcement officers entered the residence to search for Barela. Barela was located in a basement bedroom, but he allegedly refused to surrender and barricaded himself in the bedroom. Deputy U.S. Marshals engaged Barela in conversation in an attempt to convince him to surrender.


Police say Barela responded by telling the officers he would not go back to prison and that the officers would have to kill him to get him out of the basement. Barela also told the officers he had a knife, which he brandished, and he told them he would kill any law enforcement that attempted to take him into custody.

After approximately four hours, law enforcement deployed tear gas into the bedroom in an effort to end the standoff. Barela subsequently exited the bedroom and was immediately taken into custody.

After a joint investigation was completed by the Pierre Area Joint Fugitive Task Force, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service, Hughes County Sheriff’s Office and Pierre Police Department, Barela was indicted by a federal grand jury on Feb. 11, 2020. He later pleaded guilty on Dec. 8, 2021.

Following his Tuesday sentencing, Barela was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and 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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