RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — The public will get to listen along as the South Dakota Supreme Court hears oral arguments this week.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the five-member court will hear three cases each day on the campus of South Dakota Mines. Attorneys are permitted to appear before the Supreme Court to emphasize certain points of the case and respond to the court’s questions.

You can watch the full argument for the case Stave v. Larson, heard on Tuesday morning, in the player below.

This case dates back to April 2020, according to the case summary, when Tristin Larson pushed a two-year-old child, who hit his head. The child died. Larson, however, claimed a dog knocked the child down before admitting he had not told the truth.

He has claimed, though, that he didn’t have the capacity to waive his Miranda rights because he was upset about the child’s death. A circuit court disagreed and a jury found Larson guilty of aggravated battery of an infant and second-degree murder.

Larson was sentenced to life imprisonment for second-degree murder and 50 years in prison for aggravated battery of an infant.

Larson’s lawyer Brad Schreiber argued the circuit court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statements made to law enforcement during an interview and the circuit court erred in denying Larson’s motion for judgment of acquittal.

Lawyer Brad Schreiber argues in front of the South Dakota Supreme Court.

Schreiber said Larson was watching Easton, Elizabeth Felix’s two-year-old son. Schreiber said Larson told Easton if he didn’t want to take a bath, he’d spank him. Schreiber said evidence indicates Easton was crying and Larson pushed Easton. Easton fell on the floor, a carpeted bedroom floor, and hit his head.

Larson called Elizabeth, who he had dropped off at work earlier, and said he’d come get her. She told him to stay with Easton and she’d walk to the house. It took 20-30 minutes for Elizabeth to walk to the house.

Easton was taken to the hospital in Pierre where doctors found Easton had a brain bleed and then Easton was flown to Sioux Falls. Easton died two days after the incident.

Before a trial started, Schreiber said there was a motion to suppress evidence from an interview Larson gave Pierre police.

Schreiber said there was factors of sleeplessness when Larson waived his rights.

“Our issue is that his waiver was not voluntary, intelligent or knowingly made,” Larson said. “The court found Larson was remorseful and emotional during these times.”

Schreiber said Larson’s emotions caused him to be exhausted and did not allow him to comprehend what he was waiving when he agreed to speak with Pierre police voluntarily.

“He could have left at any point in time,” Schreiber said, admitting Larson was not in custody.

Schreiber said Larson is advised by Pierre police for five different rights. Schreiber said the law doesn’t require the rights to be understood but he believes it should.

“He has five things to consider in this emotional state,” Schreiber said. “Nothing gives any indication that Larson understood the consequences of waiving his rights.”

Justice Patricia DeVaney asked about Larson’s age and juvenile history with the criminal justice system and if they were factors looked at by the circuit court in considering if Larson knew what he was doing when he waived his rights.

“The court did take those into consideration,” Schreiber said. “I don’t know anything in this record that I can point to to say he understood the consequences of waiving his rights.”

Schneiber said he would have liked there to be more of a discussion between Larson and the detective about the consequences of waiving his Miranda Rights.

“What would prompt, in your mind, Detective Pelle to suddenly go into some deeper explanation of the rights absent a question from Mr. Larson that would indicate he didn’t understand one of them,” Justice Scott Myren said.

On the motion for acquittal, Schreiber said the word “push” was used more than “shoved.” He said it was a push and said it should be aggravated battery but not second-degree murder because there’s no indication of Larson being “reckless.”

Assistant Attorney General Paul Swedlund argues in front of the South Dakota Supreme Court.

Assistant Attorney General Paul Swedlund said the case is not “who done it” case because Larson admitted to pushing Easton. Swedlund noted Larson waited 40 minutes until Easton was taken to a hospital after the push.

“He hit him hard enough that he knocked the child off his feet,” Swedlund said. “What killed him was the blow to his forehead.”

Swedlund said hitting a child hard on the head is lethal and Larson knew that.

Swedlund said what is important to know is Larson intended to hit Easton and he hit him too hard.

Swedlund said Larson apologized for lying and wanted to unburden himself with what happened to Easton when he waived his rights to speak with Pierre police.

“He’s told the consequences and he said yes,” Swedlund said. “Miranda says anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

Any future argument about changing Miranda is not part of this case, Swedlund said.

“We would ask that this court affirm the convictions,” Swedlund said.

Schreiber said it wasn’t a “blow to the forehead” that killed Easton. Schreiber said Easton’s contact with the floor is what killed him, not Larson’s push.

Schreiber said Pierre police believed it was an accident but a jury rejected that notion.

“I’m asking the court to say there’s no evidence of a deprived mind,” Schreiber said.