RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) – A Rapid City man has been sentenced to 55 years in prison after shooting another man and leaving him in the ditch.

The body of 24-year-old Dhani Aronson was found along Highway 16 in Pennington County in November 2021. An autopsy found the manner of death to be a homicide. Two days later, authorities arrested 31-year-old Andrew Thorson and 27-year-old Jacob Staton.

Authorities arrested Jacob Staton and Andrew Thorson on November 3, 2021, with charges stemming from the murder of Aronson.

According to court documents, autopsy results revealed Aronson had been shot in the head twice — one bullet was recovered from his head, and the other missed and grazed his cheek.

Investigator interviews found Thorson and Staton had picked up Aronson from his home on October 31 after driving there to buy marijuana. Aronson was sitting in the front passenger seat; Thorson was sitting directly behind him.

Thorson told investigators they had been giving Aronson a ride to Walmart, but instead dropped him off in the area of East Anamosa and North Lacrosse Street. Staton told investigators he and Thorson drove on Highway 16 after dropping Aronson off.

Aronson’s body was found near the intersection of Highway 16 and Wilderness Canyon Road, less than five miles east of Rockerville, South Dakota.

Staton was charged with accessory to a felony but is currently listed as out of custody with no new hearings scheduled.

Thorson’s attorney tells KELOLAND News he got a 70-year sentence with 15 years suspended.

That sentence comes after pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter and dropping the second-degree murder charge. 

Dhani Aronson’s obituary describes him as a passionate person who loved the outdoors. According to his obituary, Aronson had two young daughters, both under the age of 10.