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Office Upholds AG's Withholding Of Death Records

May 12, 2014, 8:50 AM

Office Upholds AG's Withholding Of Death Records
PIERRE, SD -

Attorney General Marty Jackley says the Office of Hearing Examiners has upheld his withholding of the public release of investigative records into the death of a former state economic development director.

Richard Benda was found dead in October in a grove of trees near Lake Andes with a fatal shotgun wound. His death was ruled a suicide.

Jackley in November released the forensic pathologist's findings and a summary of his office's investigation.

He agreed to allow newspaper reporter Bob Mercer and one other journalist to review a partially redacted version of the file, but only if a member of Benda's immediate family granted written permission. None of Benda's immediate family members gave permission.

Mercer appealed Jackley's decision to the administrative law office.

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