Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Some inmates at the state prison are working to uphold a standard of integrity despite living decades behind bars. The South Dakota State Penitentiary houses people who have committed heinous crimes. It’s also a place where inmates of many faiths can choose to worship.

A Lutheran congregation called St. Dysmas has more than 100 churchgoers in the 700-person prison. They elect council members, and those inmate leaders talk about forming community when their own actions keep them from being part of regular society.

Dakota Midday: Terrorists Using Gaming Consoles

Nov 24, 2015

Terrorists are using gaming consoles for some of their communication.  In a 2012 paper, Dakota State University Professor Ashley Podhradsky explained how the communication capabilities of these devices have been exploited by people who plan to commit a variety of criminal activities.  The paper, "The Xbox 360 and Steganography: How Criminals and Terrorists Could be 'Going Dark,'" is pertinent in light of recent terror attacks in Paris and Mali.  Podhradsky joined guest host Lori Walsh to discuss her research.

Former Middle School Teacher Gets 25 Years In Child Porn Case

Nov 16, 2015

Former Rapid City middle school teacher Andrew Hipakka was sentenced to 25 years in prison for attempted enticement of a minor on the internet.  
The case involves 100-thousand images of child pornography over a two year period and Hipakka’s recorded live chat videos of minors he convinced to perform sex acts over the internet.  Federal Judge Jeffrey Viken also sentenced Hipakka to a lifetime of supervised release.   
Viken calls Hipakka a predator.   Prosecutors say this case lead to arrests around the country and world.

Sioux Falls Police Department

Authorities are looking for a man they believe raped a 14-year-old girl in Sioux Falls. Police say the suspect is armed and dangerous, and they want anyone who sees him or the van he’s driving to call 911.

Officials are searching for 41-year-old Frederick McAbee. He’s a black Sioux Falls man who is about 5'9" tall and weighs 165 pounds. Authorities believe he is driving a gray 1999 Chevy Express. That’s a full-size cargo van. The license plate is 1BMC21.

FBI Offers $5,000 Reward In Homicide Case

Nov 2, 2015

The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction in a homicide case on the Cheyenne River Reservation.

On October 20, 2015, the body of 20 year old East  Lee was discovered near Eagle Butte.  Investigators say Lee died from a single gunshot wound to the head.  

Kyle Loven is with the FBI in Minneapolis.

South Dakota authorities say four children and their mother found dead in a house fire last week are homicide victims. Attorney General Marty Jackley says preliminary autopsy results show Nicole, Kailey, Jaeci, Connor, and Michael Westerhuis died of shotgun wounds.

Officials say the sixth person dead is husband and father Scott Westerhuis. He also died of a shotgun wound, and authorities suspect suicide.

On September 17th flames engulfed a home just south of Platte, South Dakota. After first responders put out the fire, officials found a family of six dead.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Two people face felony human trafficking charges after Sioux Falls police met with two victims. Officials arrested one man and one woman accused of sex trafficking, and they took two more people into custody for drug charges.

The human trafficking investigation started Monday when officers found an ad online related to prostitution. They arranged a meeting with two women.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Assistant Police Chief Matt Burns is the mayor’s choice for the next leader of the Sioux Falls Police Department. Current chief Doug Barthel is leaving the force after more than 12 years in command. The newly-announced chief already has priorities for his tenure.

Matt Burns has spent almost 19 years with Sioux Falls Police. He became assistant chief in March. Now Mayor Mike Huether says Burns is his pick to lead the department.

Sioux Falls Police Department

Authorities in Sioux Falls say officials found card skimmers on two bank ATM machines. Thieves place the devices to capture financial information so they can gain access to accounts. Police say this is the first time they’ve found credit card skimmers in the area. 

Officials say they believe no one’s card information is compromised after skimmers recorded sensitive material at two ATMs in the southwest part of the city.

Baby Death In Sioux Falls May Be Homicide

Aug 10, 2015
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Sioux Falls Police say they suspect that the death of a baby last week was not an accident. Authorities are looking for the girl’s father; he faces abuse and drug charges. Meantime officials are trying to understand what happened to the girl before emergency responders got to the baby’s home.

Kayleigh Joy Schumm was two and a half weeks old when she died last week at a Sioux Falls hospital. Authorities say it happened a day after the baby stopped breathing while home with her father.

Sex Trafficking During The Rally

Aug 7, 2015

Dakota Midday continued its week-long look into the 75th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Thursday as SDPB's Charles Michael Ray visited with Windie Lazenko about sex trafficking during the event.  Lazenko was a victim of sex trafficking at the age of 13.  She discussed her experiences and the history of sex trafficking during the annual August event.

You can find out more about the organization 4 Her here.

SF Man Arrested For Human Trafficking

Jul 17, 2015
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A Sioux Falls man is in jail after authorities say he forced a woman into prostitution for multiple years in several cities. Officials say they responded to a call Tuesday that connected them with the victim.

Authorities in Sioux Falls say a 43-year-old woman is safe after two to three years of forced prostitution. Officer Sam Clemens says earlier this week the victim and her abuser argued.

"And that ended up with him punching her several times and then kicking her – kicking her specifically in the head numerous times," Clemens says.

During an early morning robbery in Sioux Falls, a gas station clerk grabbed the gun from a robber. It was the second robbery in as many hours, and authorities suspect the same person is responsible for both crimes.

Officer Sam Clemens with the Sioux Falls Police Department says a man first threatened a gas station clerk with a gun at about 3:45 Monday morning. He got away from the Get N Go on North Cliff Avenue with cash.

Clemens says officers think the same man tried to rob another Get N Go on Louise Avenue less than two hours later.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

During the Fourth of July weekend celebrations, Sioux Falls Police responded to nearly 270 calls about fireworks, but they issued zero tickets. Officer Sam Clemens says authorities have that discretion when it comes to citations.

A weekend shooting left one man dead and another person in custody for manslaughter. Saturday night 32-year-old Leon Paulson died after he was shot.

Authorities say 22-year-old Brady Hooker is accused of shooting and killing a man at his home in Lemmon, South Dakota during an argument that escalated. Hooker faces first-degree manslaughter.

Attorney General Marty Jackley says the difference between murder and manslaughter charges mainly applies to intent.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The mayor of Sioux Falls is laying out a list of accomplishments and areas he sees need improvement. Mayor Mike Huether detailed the two sides in Thursday’s State of the City presentation.

An invocation in Sanskrit starts Thursday’s special meeting of the Sioux Falls City Council. Mayor Mike Huether presents his perspective on the State of the City. Huether praises leaders for supporting projects like the events center and indoor pool. He says leaders must focus on preserving and improving infrastructure.

Rapid City Police Chief To Retire

May 21, 2014

Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender is set to retire on May 30.  He was hired as a patrol officer in May, 1985.  Mayor Alan Hanks appointed Allender to Chief of Police in July, 2007.  Allender joined guest host Cara Hetland to talk about his career with the Rapid City Police Department and share stories from his 29-year career.

FRONTLINE: To Catch A Trader

Jan 7, 2014

FRONTLINE's "To Catch a Trader" airs Tuesday night at 9:00 p.m. Central on SDPB-TV.  Director Nick Verbitsky joined Dakota Midday to preview this episode in which FRONTLINE goes inside the government's unprecedented crackdown on insider trading.  The film traces how an insatiable search for trading "edge" ultimately doomed some of the most successful names on Wall Street.  For more information go to

Human Trafficking In South Dakota

Apr 11, 2013

When Hannah Miller decided to examine the growing issue of human trafficking in South Dakota, she decided to look at the issue first-hand.  She blended into the crowd during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to conduct undercover research.  Miller said South Dakota is among the top six worst states for human trafficking.  Miller is Friday's Augustana College Thought Leader Forum speaker when she presents "The Dirty Little Secrets: Human Trafficking in South Dakota" at 11:30 a.m. at C.J. Callaway's in Sioux Falls.

Violence Against Women Act

Feb 13, 2013
Eastern Band of Cherokee

Tuesday, the U.S.

Governor Daugaard On Dakota Midday

Jan 10, 2013

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard joined Dakota Midday host Karl Gehrke at the State Capitol in Pierre Thursday.  Governor Daugaard discussed his State of the State address and proposals for the 2013 legislature, including the Criminal Justice Initiative.

Governor Introduces Criminal Justice Reforms

Jan 9, 2013

Governor Dennis Daugaard is backing a package of reforms to the state’s criminal justice system.

The changes include an effort to reduce prison overcrowding through the use of alternative punishments for non-violent offenders such as random drug and alcohol testing.

Daugaard says without reforms the state will see a 25-percent increase in prison population forcing the construction of two new prisons in the next decade.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A federal judge won't stay the execution of a confessed child killer who's scheduled to die next week. A woman who knows death row inmate Donald Moeller filed paperwork Friday asking the district court to delay the execution and examine Moeller's compentency.

Earlier this month, Donald Moeller asked a federal judge to throw out the only appeal that could have delayed his execution. The judge granted his request.

South Dakota lawyers argue whether a death row inmate’s lethal injection should happen next week. Donald Moeller got his final appeal dismissed earlier this month and says he accepts the death penalty. Now a woman who says she’s Moeller’s friend wants the execution put on hold.

Donna Nichols didn’t appear in federal court, but her lawyer says she’s concerned Donald Moeller isn’t competent to waive his last appeal ahead of his execution. Rapid City lawyer Robert Van Norman says Nichols is Moeller's step-sister.

A South Dakota death row inmate who gave up all of his appeals has to return to federal court next week. That’s because an outside attorney has filed paperwork requesting a judge stay his planned execution.

Monday Donald Moeller must appear before Judge Lawrence Piersol in Sioux Falls. Donna Nichols is listed in court papers as a friend of Moeller’s. She asks the judge to prevent Moeller’s execution by lethal injection, which is scheduled for the week of October 28, 2012.

Thieves Target Rapid City Cars

Oct 17, 2012

Rapid City is not the South Side of Chicago, but car burglaries are becoming a real problem in the state’s second largest city.

In the last six weeks, 106 car burglaries have been reported in town. Police officials say in the vast majority of these cases, the targeted vehicles were left unlocked.

Tarah Heupel with the Rapid City Police Department says the best way to defend against car burglaries is to always lock your car doors, even if you’re just making a quick stop.

Trooper In Critical Condition After Chase

Oct 17, 2012

A Highway Patrol Trooper is in critical condition after being struck by a car in Sioux Falls early Wednesday morning. Trooper Andrew Steen was run over by the suspect's vehicle and is hospitalized.

Terry Woster is Public Information Officer for the Department of Highway Safety.

People who witnessed the execution of confessed murderer Eric Robert had the opportunity to speak to local media following Monday night's lethal injection. Robert confessed to killing corrections officer Ronald Johnson during a failed escape attempt at the South Dakota State Penitentiary on April 12, 2011. Robert died the night of October 25, 2012. 

Hannah Olsen

The execution of Eric Robert was carried out last night at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls. Robert pleaded guilty to the April 2011 murder of Ronald Johnson during a failed escape attempt. Robert asked to be executed and waived his appeals. Monday's execution was orderly and precise.

The attorney who represented Eric Robert in court throughout his murder trial says he’s willing to talk to the family of his client’s victim. Mark Kadi says, before he died of lethal injection, Robert authorized him to discuss some matters with Ron Johnson’s family.

"If certain details are needed, the Johnson family can, if they want to talk with me, they can. If they want to move on, and I hope they move on, they can do that, too."