FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : November 13, 2014
CONTACT: Sara Rabern (605)773-3215
South Dakota Supreme Court Orders New Trial in Engesser Case
PIERRE S.D. - The South Dakota Supreme Court affirmed a decision of the 4th Circuit Court ordering a new trial in the 2000 death of Dorothy Finley. Finley was killed in a motor vehicle accident involving her Corvette and a minivan on I-90 east of Sturgis. In 2001, a jury found Oakley Engesser was driving the Corvette and convicted him of vehicular homicide and vehicular battery.
Since his conviction, Engesser located new witnesses in 2007 and 2013 indicating that they saw a woman driving the Corvette shortly before the crash. The South Dakota Supreme Court granted Engesser’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus so that this new witness testimony could be weighed against other evidence of Engesser’s guilt in a new trial.
“In determining whether a new trial will be appropriate, it will be important to consider input from Dorothy Finley’s family and the Meade County State’s Attorney, as well as the available evidence and witness testimony regarding an event that occurred 14 years ago,” said Attorney General Marty J. Jackley.