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Botched Drug Deal Leads To Charges

January 15, 2013, 6:01 PM by Derek Olson

Botched Drug Deal Leads To Charges
Charles Birdshead


A man who authorities say is responsible for last week's deadly shooting in Rapid City made his first court appearance on Tuesday.  30-year old Charles Birdshead is facing alternate counts of first-degree manslaughter resulting from what authorities are describing as a drug deal gone bad.

Last Monday, a single shot rang out in the parking lot of the South Dakota Rose Inn in Rapid City.  When authorities arrived, they found 33-year-old Eustacio Marrufo on the ground and quickly began the search for the man they believed was responsible for the killing.

After more than a weeklong search, authorities finally caught up with Birdshead at the Countryside trailer court on Monday night.

Rapid City Police booked Birdshead on charges including homicide, drug dealing and statutory rape.  But Tuesday in court, Birdshead faced the reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter and commission of a felony with a firearm.

"As with any time that we get an arrest report, what we attempt to do is bring the charges that will allow us to hold the defendant and then take a longer and closer look at exactly what charges should be brought," Pennington County State's Attorney Mark Vargo said.

The state's attorney says that the fatal shooting unfolded during a botched drug deal at the motel.

"A manslaughter count as we've charged it requires that the homicide was unnecessary, or in the first count that it was in the commission of a felony.  In this case, we've alleged that it was during the commission of a distribution of a controlled substance," Vargo said.

Vargo would not say what specific drugs were involved. He did say evidence suggests that Birdshead was the drug dealer and more charges could be coming. 

"We always work with law enforcement to see what happened.  In this case, we've had preliminary discussions but as additional evidence becomes available, we always reevaluate things," Vargo said.

Birdshead is being held at the Pennington County Jail with no bond.  He will either face a grand jury or have a preliminary hearing within the next ten days.  If convicted of manslaughter, Birdshead could face up to life in prison.

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