(SD)-Guilty Plea To Accessory In Pine Ridge Murder
PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) - A man charged in a fatal shooting on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation last May faces up to 15 years in prison after admitting he helped the accused shooters evade authorities.
30-year-old Scott Benson recently pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact in the killing of 42-year-old Christopher Janis near Sharps Corner. Prosecutors in return agreed to drop weapons charges.
The accused shooters, 28-year old Clarence Yellow Hawk and 25-year old Jamie Shoulders, are awaiting trial.
The Rapid City Journal says a signed statement from Benson as part of his plea agreement gives some details of the incident for the first time.
In it, Benson said Yellow Hawk and Shoulders had gone with him to make an undefined "purchase" from Janis and that he was in the back seat of Janis' van when Shoulders shot Janis twice through the driver's side window with a pistol.
Benson said as he was fleeing the van, he saw Yellow Hawk take the gun from Shoulders and shoot Janis several more times, then the 2 shooters joined him at his car and he drove them to a residence where they split up.
Benson admitted the gun used was his, but said he didn't know Yellow Hawk and Shoulders had brought it with them to the buy with Janis.
Yellow Hawk, also known as Robert Pullian and Clarence Yellow Eagle, is charged with 1st-degree murder and 2 firearm counts while Shoulders is charged with 2nd-degree murder and the same firearms counts.
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