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November 14, 2011 10:14 PM

McVay Will Face Death Penalty

Sioux Falls, SD


The Minnehaha County States Attorney's Office will seek the death penalty for the man accused of the July murder of a Sioux Falls woman.

James McVay, 41, walked away from a transitional housing unit at the State Penitentiary in July. Police say he broke into 75-year-old Maybelle Schein's home, brutally murdered her, stole her car and set off on a crime spree that would have gone all the way to Washington D.C.  He says he planned to murder President Barack Obama.

After being caught in Wisconsin, McVay said he was willing to accept any fate, including the death penalty he now faces.

"I'd do it again, and again, and again. I'd do anything to take care of my mission," McVay told a Madison, Wisconsin, television station shortly after his July arrest. 

The killing spree could have stretched nearly 1,300 miles. The accused killer said he would not have stopped until he reached Washington D.C.; the death of 75-year-old Maybelle Schein was just the beginning.

"There was no malice or anything. She was in my way and I removed her," McVay said.

Minnehaha County State's Attorneys Aaron McGowan says he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that McVay's vile and inhuman actions deserve the death sentence. 

"We just took all the appropriate factors into consideration and felt that under the circumstances it was appropriate for us to put this in front of a jury and let them make that determination," McGowan said.

Authorities tracked down the suspect in Wisconsin using the GPS system in Schein's stolen car. McVay was arrested and returned to Minnehaha County. At that time McVay said he knew nothing was off the table, including death.

"If that's what fate has in store for me, let's do it. Otherwise I'm coming for Obama," McVay said.

McVay's next court appearance is scheduled for December. This will be the first death penalty case prosecuted by Minnehaha County since Daphne Wright was convicted of the murder of Darlene VanderGiesen in 2007. A jury ultimately sentenced Wright to life in prison without parole.

The recent death penalty case of admitted killer Eric Robert, was prosecuted by the South Dakota Attorney General's Office.
  • Sioux Falls, SD
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