User uShare Login | Register

Along with posting photos, videos, and stories, your uShare account lets you post Classified Ads, recipes on What's For Dinner, and Announcements.

44° View Weather Current Conditions Sioux Falls Change Location
Set Weather Options



Share your Photos, Videos, and Stories on uShare! Click here to get started.


[0] My Saved Articles
Find local businesses
on the KELO Pages!


Judge: Death 'Disturbing Case Of Neglect'

November 29, 2012, 5:59 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Judge: Death 'Disturbing Case Of Neglect'

He was supposed to watch over six children;  instead 21-year-old Taylor Cournoyer used meth while a two-year-old girl died in his Wagner home.

Cournoyer was sentenced to 13 years in prison on Thursday for possessing meth and using it in the house.

Cournoyer and his wife, 29-year-old Laurie Cournoyer, were arrested in July after the body of two-year-old RieLee Lovell was discovered in a bedroom closet.

An 11-year-old is also charged in connection with the death.

While Taylor Cournoyer does not face any charges directly related to Lovell's death, he did plead guilty to two meth charges back in October. At his sentencing on Thursday, prosecutors argued that his meth use led to an unsupervised home that ultimately resulted in the toddler's strangulation.

"It shows you the victims of drug use and unfortunately in this case, it is graphic and it is directly related to what happened in that house," South Dakota Assistant Attorney General Bill Golden argued in the Charles Mix County courthouse.

Taylor Cournoyer and his wife had taken in RieLee Lovell and her brother because their parents were going through a rough patch in their relationship. They were two of six children that were in the Cournoyer's care.

Golden said in court on Thursday that Cournoyer was not watching the children at all, instead he was using meth. Investigators believe Lovell's body lay dead in the closet for nearly 24 hours before it was found.

"Each of these children had to deal with this situation on their own; no help, no parent, no one. That's the offense here today. That's what this drug use did," Golden said.

Cournoyer's defense attorney Tom Deadrick argued for a lighter sentence saying that Cournoyer had a steady job and took in children that nobody else wanted. He says Cournoyer is a good citizen when he's not using drugs and wants to get help.

"He knows that he needs to go down a straight path that he hasn't followed yet. He knows the results of using the meth he's been charged with," Deadrick said.

Judge Steven Jensen agreed with prosecutors and sentenced Cournoyer to nearly all the prison time they asked for because he says the drug use led to the death of a toddler.

"It's not a case of abuse. It's not a case where Mr. Cournoyer was directly involved in the killing of R.L. but it's a clear and very disturbing case of neglect," Jensen said.

Taylor Cournoyer will be eligible for parole in just over four years.

His wife, Laurie Cournoyer, is charged with child abuse and not reporting the death of a child. She has pleaded not guilty to those charges and is waiting for another court hearing.

Details will not be released on the 11-year-old who was also charged in connection with the death because it is being handled in juvenile court.

Previous Story

Next Story




View news

You may also like

16-Year-Old Teen Found Dead On Interstate 90

10/2/2015 10:48 AM

Authorities did not identify the victim, but described him as a 16 year old from Minnehaha County.

Full Story
Body On I-90 Identified

10/2/2015 4:02 PM

The teenager found dead on Interstate 90 has been identified as an O'Gorman High School student.

Full Story
Helicopter Crash Near Parkston Under Investigation

10/5/2015 11:25 AM

Emergency crews responded to a helicopter crash near Parkston Monday morning. 

Full Story
Bosworth's Husband Facing Felony Charges

10/5/2015 10:50 AM

The husband of former GOP U.S. Senate Candidate Annette Bosworth now faces felony charges.

Full Story
Fishermen Find Body Of Sioux Falls Man In Oakwood Lake

10/6/2015 12:30 PM

The Brookings County Sheriff's Office says the body of 73-year-old Martin Jepson was found floating in the lake around 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Full Story