Mother of gun violence victim speaks out

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KLEO) — One person died and several people were shot in an early morning gunfight along Minnesota Avenue in Sioux Falls earlier this month.

Then last week, three people were killed in an episode of gun violence in the small town of Scotland, South Dakota.

A Sioux Falls mother wants her son’s 2017 death to raise awareness of this deadly problem

“He was just a lovable kid; vibrant, everything. Everything just lit up about him,” Susie Stonehouse said.

Riley Stonehouse was an athlete who started hanging out with the wrong crowd.

Submitted photo of Riley Stonehouse

“The other suspect in the case had set up a drug deal and they were picked up at his house by Dylan Holler and they went to the party where the drug dealer was,” Stonehouse said.

Toxicology reports showed that Riley hadn’t used any drugs that August night, but he was still in danger.

“Dylan Holler stole a gun from an open vehicle at an apartment complex on the Saturday before 3:10 It was loaded, everything,” Stonehouse said.

Holler pistol-whipped someone else in the vehicle when the gun went off, with the bullet hitting Riley. Susie got the call that her son was taken to the hospital.

“I needed to see him. That was the hardest part for me. I needed to see him. I didn’t get to see him until 15 hours later on a stretcher, in a hospital gown, at Heritage Funeral Home,” Stonehouse said.

Susie Stonehouse visits her son’s grave. Riley Stonehouse was killed by gun violence in 2017

Riley is now on the National Gun Violence Memorial website, which lists 89,237 gun violence victims. Susie believes that if Holler didn’t have access to a gun, her son would still be alive.

“This guy, and I hope he lives with it the rest of his life, that Dylan Holler stole the gun from–why do you have it in a car in your apartment complex? Why didn’t you have it in your apartment with you?” Stonehouse said.

Susie says her son’s future was snuffed out in a moment. He was thinking of joining the Army.

Stonehouse: The what could-be’s; what could have been. That’s what’s hard.
Kennecke: All because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Stonehouse: Yep. I always tell my kids it’s about who you hang around with. And it is. It was in this situation.

Dylan Holler plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter and received a 40-year sentence.

First-degree manslaughter is committed during another felony, without intent to kill.

It can carry a maximum sentence of life without parole.

KELOLAND Investigates is taking a closer look at the wide range of sentences for first-degree manslaughter in South Dakota, even in some cases for the very same crime, and why efforts to reform sentencing for this kind of crime have failed in our KELOLAND News Investigation, Manslaughter: Unequal Time, Monday on KELOLAND News at 10.

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