PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A Lawrence County jury’s convictions of a housing contractor should be reversed, the South Dakota Supreme Court said.
In a decision publicly released Thursday, the justices said Circuit Judge Michelle Comer should have granted the motion for acquittal by defendant Robert Suchor of Pine Haven, Wyoming, and dismissed the three charges of grand theft by misappropriation of funds by a contractor. The judge dismissed five related charges.
Suchor had signed three contracts in 2016 to build houses for three Spearfish families. He got into financial disputes with all three. One house wasn’t started and two weren’t completed.
A grand jury indicted him in September 2017 on three counts of grand theft by misappropriation of funds by a contractor. A grand jury in October 2018 added three alternative counts of grand theft by deception and two alternative counts of grand theft by embezzlement. At the 2019 trial, the circuit judge dismissed all of the alternative counts.
The jury found Suchor guilty on the three misappropriation counts. The judge sentenced him to 10 years on each to be served concurrently but suspended prison on the condition he pay restitution.
Justice Patricia DeVaney wrote the Supreme Court decision reversing the three convictions, finding in each that the prosecution didn’t provide sufficient evidence.