SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – A Wagner man who has been in prison for 42 years on a second-degree murder charge now has the chance to possibly get released in the future.
According to court documents, in October of 1981, Roscoe Primeaux was at a house party in Wagner. While there, a series of fights broke out and Primeaux stabbed three people. One of the victims, Rodney Provost, died.
Primeaux has been behind bars since he was 19 years old. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
On Thursday, Primeaux went in front of the South Dakota Board of Pardons and Parole.
“Not really deserving, but asking for a second chance. I’ve educated myself, I went to school, I worked every job I could have. I stayed away from trouble and stayed away from violence. I have no major write-ups for the past 41 years,” Primeaux said.
No one from his victim’s family came to the hearing, but Primeaux says he has met with Provost’s brothers in the past.
“We pretty much just come to the understanding that alcohol is bad for Indians in general,” Primeaux said. “We never intend for bad things to happen when we get drunk, but it does. So they said, ‘we know our brother and we’re going to let you know here that we don’t hold it against you.”
Two members of Primeaux’s family offered their support for him at the hearing.
“I want to be there to get him off the bus and bring him home. That’s just what I wish for my brother,” one testifier said.
Primeaux has been up for commutation before but in 2012, Governor Dennis Daugaard denied his commutation. Now at 62 years old, he’s once again getting that chance.
“He’s been punished for 40 years in here and it happened when he was a young person. I think it’s something that the governor can very easily take a look at now and perhaps extend that grace to him and I want to be a part of that process. So I would recommend that we vote yes on this motion,” Chuck Schroyer, a parole board member, said.
Tears fell as the parole board voted eight to one to send a recommendation of commutation to Governor Kristi Noem’s desk.
The parole board recommended Primeaux’s sentence be commutated by 300 years, which means if Noem approves of it, he would be eligible for parole right away. If that’s the case, he would have to once again go in front of the parole board for them to decide if he actually gets released from prison.