FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, Jan. 6, 2023
CONTACT: Tony Mangan, 605-773-6878
PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota’s Supreme Court has upheld an attempted first-degree murder conviction in a case that was prosecuted by the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office in two jury trials and then defended on appeal.
Derek At The Straight was convicted in August, 2021 for shooting another man at a Pierre residence in July, 2020. At his trial, At The Straight was found guilty of attempted first-degree murder, four counts of aggravated assault and commission of a felony with a fireman. At a second jury trial, the defendant was found guilty of being a habitual offender.
In his appeal, At The Straight argued that the state did not present enough physical and forensic evidence to convict him. But the judges, in an unanimous decision released Thursday, disagreed, saying the evidence was “substantial,” “significant,” and “compelling.”
“This case reflects well on the Attorney General’s Office as a whole,” said Attorney General Mark Vargo. “The case that was presented was an accumulation of evidence that was carefully gathered and then presented by the attorneys in a way that could be understood by the juries and then later upheld by the Supreme Court.”
Besides the office lawyers who handled both the jury trial and the appeal, staff from the Division of Criminal Investigation and the South Dakota Forensic Lab, along with local law enforcement, were involved. Attorney General-elect Marty Jackley said the decision is another example of the work done by those in the Attorney General’s Office and law enforcement.
“Thank you to all of the lawyers, law enforcement officers and lab technicians who again demonstrated their professionalism and diligence,” he said. “Because of that work, this victim and his family received justice for the injuries inflicted upon him.”
State of South Dakota v. Derek At The Straight Decision