Prosecutors weigh penalty in murder case
By By Kara Christensen, Journal Staff Writer
Rapid City Journal; Rapid City, South Dakota
This story ran: Tuesday May 18, 2004
RAPID CITY - Pennington County prosecutors have not said whether they will seek the death penalty in the case of a Rapid Valley man charged with murdering a magazine saleswoman.
Neil H. Frame, 41, is charged with first-degree murder in the case. He entered a not guilty plea Monday before Judge Janine Kern in 7th Circuit Court. Frame sat in the courtroom with his shoulders hunched and his hands in his lap, looking up to answer questions from Kern.
No date has been set for a jury trial. The next court proceeding for Frame is a hearing at 1:30 p.m. Monday, June 7.
Frame is accused of murdering Kristina Moore, 21, of Lancaster, Calif., on the evening of April 21 after she came to his home as a part of a door-to-door magazine sales crew working in Rapid City, according to police reports. Her body was found on the morning of April 23 in a field near Hermosa. Frame turned himself in to local authorities on April 26.
Pennington County State's Attorney Glenn Brenner said he anticipates Frame's defense attorneys will request notification of whether prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty, at which point the court will set a deadline for notification.
"We will meet that requirement," he said.
Brenner said Frame's not-guilty plea did not surprise him. When a defendant faces a maximum penalty of death or life in prison, there's generally a full exercise of the right to a trial, he said.
If Frame were to change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity, a doctor would have to testify that Frame did not understand the wrongfulness of his alleged act, Brenner said. If a jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity, Frame would be institutionalized until the court found him to be sane, and then he would be released, Brenner said.
If Frame were to change his plea to guilty but mentally ill, he would undergo treatment until the court found him to be competent, and then he would serve a sentence, Brenner said.
Kevin Krull, deputy state's attorney for Pennington County, is also prosecuting the case. Defense attorneys are Michael Stonefield and Kevin Lewis, both of the Pennington County Public Defender's Office.
Contact Christensen at 605-394-8419 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This Article was published online on Thursday, April 29, 2004
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