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Mitchell man gets 16 years for May robbery

The man who was arrested in May for threatening people in Mitchell with a gun and demanding money was sentenced Tuesday to spend 16 years in the state penitentiary.

Christopher Kindle, of Mitchell, was convicted of one count of first-degree robbery and one count of attempted first-degree robbery, for which Judge Chris Giles sentenced him to consecutive sentences of 25 years with nine years suspended and 12½ years suspended, respectively. He will receive credit for the 125 days he served in jail prior to sentencing.

He pleaded guilty to those charges in July as part of a plea deal, for which the state dismissed an additional 10 felony charges related to the same incident.

Kindle addressed the court before his sentencing, saying that he believed his family had negatively influenced him.

"There's no way to take away the trauma that I have inflicted on the victims," he said. "I believe a lot of this is attributed to the type of person I have let myself become."

Kindle either robbed or attempted to rob four people at two businesses on North Main Street while carrying a handgun early in the morning on May 16. He was taken into custody by Mitchell police later that morning.

Kindle's attorney, Zachary Flood, said that Kindle, who turned 20 in the Davison County Jail, has a long history of drug and alcohol abuse, and that on the day of his arrest, Kindle had used three different substances.

"I do feel right now you are a danger and a threat to the community," Giles told Kindle. "When you get drunk or high, I'm afraid you're capable of almost anything."

Flood recommended a prison sentence that would make Kindle eligible for parole within fewer than five years, arguing that while he agreed that Kindle needed a chance to be sober for a long period of time — something that hadn't happened since he was about 10 years old — he was still young enough to turn his life around.

"Unfortunately, it's probably no fault of his own that, to be honest, he never had a chance," Flood said.

Robert O'Keefe, who prosecuted the case for the state, recommended a 25-year sentence for first-degree robbery and 12½ years for attempted robbery, with no time suspended, saying that information from Kindle's psychological evaluation and the involvement of a gun in this case made him think that Kindle is unlikely to change his behavior.

"Basically, every time he gets into a pinch, he basically says, 'I run,'" O'Keefe said.

Because first-degree robbery is a Class 2 felony and the two charges for which he was convicted Tuesday bring his total of felony convictions to three — Kindle was sentenced to five years probation for grand theft in Hughes County in July 2017 — South Dakota's parole system makes Kindle ineligible for parole for at least eight years.

In addition to his prison time, Kindle was ordered to pay $220.94 in restitution and $208 in court costs.