Justices uphold Beadle County farmer’s conviction for first-degree murder

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Supreme Court has refused to overturn the conviction of a rural Beadle County man for first-degree murder.

Kevin Allan Krueger was found guilty in the 2016 killing of Keith Houck. Krueger confessed to a Beadle County deputy sheriff that Houck’s body was buried on Krueger’s farm. A Beadle County jury found Krueger guilty, after he decided to rest without presenting evidence.

The justices unanimously rejected all five sets of arguments made in the appeal to the state’s high court by Krueger’s attorney, Kenneth Tschetter of Sioux Falls.

Justice Mark Salter delivered the court’s decision.

“Krueger’s arguments that there was no direct physical evidence connecting him to Houck’s death, no eyewitnesses to the murder, and insufficient proof of anything other than Krueger’s mere presence at the farm are not convincing,” Salter wrote.

“These claims are essentially an effort to relitigate the evidence and overlook our deferential standard for determining the sufficiency of the evidence. This well-established standard forbids us from reweighing evidence the jury has already considered and instead requires us to indulge every reasonable inference in favor of the jury’s verdict.”

The Supreme Court also found that seven articles published in the Huron Daily Plainsman newspaper weren’t “inaccurate, misleading or inflammatory” when Krueger sought a change of venue, Salter wrote. The justice also noted that Circuit Judge Jon Erickson excused all five prospective jurors that Krueger’s attorney challenged.

The full decision is here.

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