Russell Ray Bertram

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of Russell Ray Bertram. The former Harrisburg Chief of Police killed his fiancee in October 2009. Earlier that year he took out $920,000 worth of insurance on her life. The state Supreme Court affirms the trial court's refusal to admit polygraph evidence. And justices support the lower court's decision to allow evidence of Bertram's sexual improprieties.

To read the opinion, click on this link:

Russell Ray Bertram was convicted of first-degree murder in 2016. A jury found that he intentionally killed his girlfriend with a shotgun while they were hunting in Gregory County in 2009.

Bertram appeals his conviction on two points. He says the prosecution should not have been allowed to introduce evidence of his infidelity to his girlfriend. And he says the judge should have allowed the jury to know he had taken a polygraph.

The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on Wednesday, Oct. 4. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.