Local Man Indicted for Murder in South Dakota

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A Plano, Texas, man has been indicted in connection with the brutal murder of a South Dakota man, following a year-long investigation.

Dennis R. Holmes, United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota, announced on Wednesday, January 12, that two individuals have been charged with the murder of 41-year-old George Cournoyer Jr.

Plano resident 31-year-old Alexis Delarosa and 37-year-old Justina Tuttle, from Niobrara, Nebraska, were “indicted by a federal grand jury for Second Degree Murder, Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury, and Assault with a Dangerous Weapon,” according to a DOJ press release.

According to The Yankton Daily News, a spokesperson from the FBI stated the victim was found during the afternoon of December 21, 2020, and was “likely killed earlier in the day.” Police allege that Delarosa assaulted Cournoyer with a hammer, and Tuttle used a baseball bat, beating the victim to death. The Mitchell Republic News reported that the murder occurred at the victim’s home, which sits on the tribal lands of Yankton Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Both suspects have pled “not guilty.” According to the press release, “The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to life in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, up to five years of supervised release, and up to $400 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.”

According to the victim’s obituary, Cournoyer worked at Yankton Sioux Housing Authority for the last three and half years as a maintenance worker. Cournoyer also worked in various positions at Fort Randall Casino. He leaves behind a daughter, who was nine years old at the time of his murder.

Information has not been released regarding a connection between the suspects and the victim or a motive for the murder. Delarosa is in the custody of the State of South Dakota, and the U.S. Marshals Service is holding Tuttle until the scheduled trial date, which is March 15, 2022.

The charges remain allegations until court processes are completed and a final verdict is reached. The FBI and Yankton Sioux Law Enforcement, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann M. Hoffman, are working together on the investigation and prosecution.

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