Timeline: Mitch Caffee was arrested twice in months before alleged murder
Caffee's $1 million bond was revoked following an Oct. 26 bond hearing
WESSINGTON SPRINGS — The man who is charged with the murder of his wife’s 90-year-old grandmother in a fatal shooting during an alleged break-in and domestic assault on Sunday, Oct. 24, has a history of alleged violence against his wife, according to court documents and the account of his daughter, and will be represented by a state senator and former deputy state's attorney.
Mitch Caffee, the 38-year-old Wessington Springs man facing first degree murder charges , has two separate legal cases pending aside from the slew of charges he’s facing in connection with the Oct. 24 shooting. One case is a domestic assault charge from August, and another for violating the terms of his bond from his initial release.
Caffee was released from jail twice before the alleged killing of Lorraine Redmann.
On Aug. 31, authorities were called to Caffee’s home after a concerned friend of his wife reported to a deputy that there may be an assault in progress. Authorities arrived and say Caffee’s wife was bruised, dizzy and vomiting in a bucket after she was grabbed by the neck and thrown to the floor.
The wife’s daughter, who is a minor, told police she watched Caffee kick her mother in the head twice before closing her eyes. An officer wrote in his report that the daughter said Caffee “hits her mommy a lot,” and said it happens once a week.
South Dakota law requires officers who arrest anyone on a domestic assault or abuse charge to notify a magistrate or circuit court judge to determine if bond shall be set .
In a phone call with a deputy, Caffee was granted a personal recognizance bond by Judge Abigail Howard. He was released without paying a bond on the conditions that he make no contact with the victim, stay 300 feet away from the residence and promise to appear in a Jerauld County courtroom on Sept. 16.
On Oct. 20., a phone call from the wife to a deputy alleged that Caffee had violated the terms of his bond by spending the night at the home. While he was there, a police report says he suggested his wife should shoot him with a shotgun, and also asked where in the house a handgun was kept .
The report does not mention the type of weapon Caffee was seeking, though it's alleged he shot and killed Redmann with a .40-caliber handgun.
Caffee was arrested for a conditional bond violation on Oct. 20, when a judge set a new bond at $2,500, which he posted for his release the following day. Bond violations are typically addressed at a judge’s discretion due to the individual nature of every offense and violation.
Just three days later, authorities allege Caffee again violated his bond by kicking in the locked door of Redmann’s home — where his wife was staying — before shooting Redmann and holding his wife against her will.
Caffee, whose $1 million bond was revoked following an Oct. 26 bond hearing, appeared Friday in a Jerauld County Courtroom to be arraigned on 17 felony charges including murder, kidnapping and burglary.
Caffee is no stranger to the state’s legal system — in March 2016, he was indicted on 11 counts of rape of a minor and four counts of sexual contact with a child under 16. He was acquitted on all counts in a jury trial seven months later . His domestic abuse charge from Aug. 31 is currently scheduled to head to a jury trial on Dec. 13.
Caffee hired Sen. David Wheeler (R-Huron) and Jeffrey Banks, both of Huron to represent him in his murder case proceedings.
Wheeler, a first-term state senator representing parts of Beadle and Kingsbury Counties , serves on the South Dakota Senate’s Government Operations and Audit Committee — which is actively investigating accusations of nepotism lodged against Gov. Kristi Noem — and the Adult-Use Marijuana Study Subcommittee. He also runs a private practice law firm based in Huron.
Banks, a former Beadle County deputy state’s attorney and former city attorney for Huron, currently serves as a partner at Blue, Haeder and Banks Law in Huron. His firm’s website says Banks specializes in estate, business and family law.
Wheeler is also representing Caffee in both his domestic assault and bond violation cases.
Caffee’s next appearance in a Jerauld County Courthouse has yet to be set on the state's judicial portal.