Trial has begun in Rapid City for a Hot Springs man accused of killing his mother. Twenty-eight year old Matthew Tornquist faces charges of grand theft and first degree murder, or alternately, second degree murder.
Jury selection started Monday afternoon. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley and Custer County Deputy State's Attorney Matt Brown, serving as a Special Assistant Attorney General, are prosecuting the case, with defense attorneys Matt Stephens and Betsey Harris of Rapid City representing Tornquist. Seventh Circuit Judge Jeff Davis is presiding.
Catherine Tornquist was 56 when she disappeared in October 2011, after taking $10,000 out of the bank in cash to pay for a camper. Her body has never been found.
Prosecutors will try to prove that she is deceased and that her son killed her and used the cash. If Tornquist is convicted of either first or second degree murder, he faces a mandatory life sentence without parole.
The trial could last up to two weeks. Proceedings were moved to Rapid City after defense attorneys said their client couldn’t get a fair trial in Hot Springs.