PIERRE, S.D.- Attorney General Marty Jackley and Campbell County States Attorney Mark Kroontje announced that yesterday Lori Brandner, 42, Herreid, decided not to elect a retrial and plead guilty to conspiracy to commit arson from insurance proceeds, class 5 felony, punishable by up to 5 years in the state penitentiary and/or $10,000 fine.
Brandner, who was previously convicted of the arson in February 2016, following a jury trial, had been granted a new trial by 5th Circuit Court Judge Scott Myron after concluding certain jury instructions had not properly set forth South Dakota law.
The convictions stem from Brandner and her three co-defendants, who previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit arson for insurance proceeds, setting fire to the Roadhouse Bar and Grill on Main Street of Herreid, on January 21, 2015. The fire did extensive damage to the Bar which was owned by Brandner and her husband. After the fire, Brandner submitted a fraudulent $310,000 insurance claim to Columbia Group Insurance Company. The co-defendants who previously pled guilty were Cheyenne Davis, Ryan Kaelberer and Tyler Armbrust.
This case was investigated by the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office, the South Dakota State Fire Marshall, the ATF and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and was prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office and the Campbell County State’s Attorney’s Office.
A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled for Brandner.