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SD Supreme Court: Murder Conviction Upheld

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of John Eric Hemminger. The Aberdeen man stabbed his former girlfriend to death on Jan. 6, 2015, and was convicted by a Brown County jury.

Hemminger claims that officers should have had warrants to take his phone and blood-spattered clothing into evidence.

During oral arguments last month, Assistant Attorney General Patricia Archer told justices that officers didn't need a search warrant. She said Hemminger encouraged officers to search his phone, and that interaction was recorded.

"They asked him, mind if I look at your phone? Go ahead. He nods. Points at the phone that's there on the counter. Tells them, 'Oh, hey, I've got a pass code. I've got to put that in for you.' He's actively assisting them to look inside the texts," Archer said during oral arguments.

Archer says Hemminger left his clothing in a bag at his friend's house, and the friend gave consent.

Three weeks later, Hemminger withdrew his consent and asked that the phone and clothing be returned to him. In its opinion, the Supreme Court says he had a right to withdraw his consent, but that right has to be exercised during the search and is not retroactive.

To read the opinion, click on the link below:

Rapid City freelancer Victoria L. Wicks has been producing news for SDPB since August 2007. She Retired from this position in March 2023.
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