The South Dakota Attorney General’s Office says it will appeal a decision to overturn the vehicular homicide conviction of a Belle Fourche man.
Earlier this week a decision by Deadwood Judge Warren Johnson was filed overturning the vehicular battery and homicide convictions of Oakley Engesser.
Engesser has been serving a 25-year prison sentence since 2001 for a deadly crash that killed his friend, Dorothy Finley, outside of Sturgis in July of 2000. The crash happened after Engesser and Finley were riding in her car at more than 100 miles per hour.
New witnesses have come forward recently saying that they saw a woman – Finley – driving the car that day and not Engesser. That evidence led Judge Johnson to overturn the conviction and order a new trial.
"The evidence is powerful. It's overwhelming. In my judgment, this man has been in prison for over a decade for a crime for which he is unquestionably innocent of," Engesser's attorney Mike Butler said Tuesday after the conviction was overturned.
Engesser was released from prison Tuesday night.
Attorney General Marty Jackley announced Thursday he plans to appeal the decision to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
“I acknowledge that additional evidence has surfaced and in the interest of justice and for Dorothy Finley’s family, our state’s highest court should review whether these inconsistencies legally and factually support another jury trial,” Jackley said in a statement.
Jackley says the state will not ask for Engesser to be incarcerated during the Supreme Court review.