SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — 25-year-old Jacob Staton and 29-year-old Andrew Thorson have been arrested and charged in the death of 24-year-old Dhani I. Aronson. Aronson’s body was found along Highway 16 in Pennington County on Monday morning, and his death was ruled a homicide.
According to court documents, preliminary autopsy results reveal that Aronson had been shot twice in the head, with one bullet recovered from his head, and the other missing as it had caused a grazing wound along his right lower cheek.
Thorson is charged with second degree murder, while Staton is being charged as an accessory.
From interviews conducted by investigators, it was determined that Thorson and Staton had picked up Aronson from his home the night of October 31 after driving there to buy marijuana.
Thorson and Staton were driving a borrowed Ford F150, and according to officials, Aronson had sat in the front passenger seat, with Thorson sitting directly behind him. Officials say the two bullet holes in the hoodie that Aronson was found wearing indicate evidence of close contact gunshots.
Thorson said that they had been giving Aronson a ride to Walmart, but had instead dropped him off in an unknown location in the area of E. Anamosa and N. Lacrosse street.
Staton told interviewers that he and Thorson drove on Highway 16 after allegedly dropping off Aronson.
Staton was later found to be in possession of a 9mm handgun, and was seen driving a 2006 Pontiac G6, inside which investigators found a towing bill for the F150.
Once the F150 was located, investigators interviewed the owner, who said he had loaned Staton and Thorson the pick-up to tow another vehicle. When the two returned the F150, the owner said Thorson had claimed to have thrown up inside and to have caused damage by accidentally discharging a firearm.
The owner says Thorson then cleaned the inside of the F150 with Staton present. Law enforcement found a bullet hole in the passenger side dash, and blood in the passenger seat area. Investigators also found a plastic bag containing used cleaning agents and bloody rags in the trash.
Thorson and Staton were scheduled for their first court appearance in Pennington County at 10am MDT on Wednesday. According to the Pennington County Sheriff’s office, bond for Thorson was set at $1 million, while bond for Staton was set at $500,000.