Man faces charges in murder
By Kevin Woster and Kara Christensen, Journal Staff Writers
Rapid City Journal; Rapid City, South Dakota
This story ran: Tuesday April 28, 2004
RAPID CITY - A 41-year-old Rapid Valley man made his initial court appearance Tuesday on charges that he killed a 21-year-old woman who came to his home last week to sell magazines.
Neil Frame, 3030 Gypsey Road, turned himself in to authorities Monday evening. He faces first-degree murder charges in the death of Kristina Moore of Lancaster, Calif. Moore disappeared last Wednesday evening while working for a door-to-door magazine sales crew in the Rapid Valley area where Frame lived. Moore's body was found Friday morning in a field near Hermosa.
During a news conference Tuesday morning, city, county and state law-enforcement officers said autopsy results showed that Moore had suffered a blow to the head but had died of asphyxiation from strangulation.
A police report included with Frame's felony file in the Pennington County Clerk of Court's Office on Tuesday said Frame had bought a magazine subscription from Moore and written her a check. Then, he became enraged, the report said, and struck her with a small pry bar before strangling her.
Pennington County State's Attorney Glenn Brenner said Moore's body still had a plastic zip tie around the neck when it was found Friday. He said there also were indications on the body that a stun gun might have been used, something also mentioned in the police report.
"If anyone knows of a discarded stun gun found in the area, we'd like that information," Brenner said.
The police report said Frame put Moore's body in a large rubber container, put the container in his pickup and drove to a rural road north of Hermosa, where he placed the container in a field.
Authorities are also seeking information about Frame's whereabouts between Wednesday evening and Monday evening. Lt. Lynn McLane of the Pennington County Sheriff's Office said Frame had emerged during the early days of the investigation as a "person of concern." Authorities canvassed the area in Rapid Valley where Moore was last seen Wednesday selling magazines door to door. Frame was among those interviewed.
"We canvassed almost every single resident in that neighborhood and identified those we felt needed more attention," McLane said.
Rapid City Police Chief Craig Tieszen said increasing pressure coming from the investigation had affected Frame.
"He was part of the canvass our officers did in that area," Tieszen said. "I think that's what caused him to come in." Frame came to the Pennington County Public Safety building about 7 p.m. Monday and asked to speak to investigators. The police report indicates that Frame's wife had urged him to turn himself in. The report also said Frame left a suicide note in his pickup, a note to his wife and another note to the victim's family.
Authorities said Frame's wife was not home when the incident occurred. They also believe no one else was involved in the crime.
Frame, a retired military employee with no known criminal record, was arrested about 1 a.m. Tuesday for first-degree murder, a class 1 felony that carries a minimum penalty of life in prison and a maximum of death.
Brenner said additional charges, including kidnapping, could follow as the investigation proceeds. Frame made an initial court appearance Tuesday. Brenner said he would ask for a $1 million cash bond to hold Frame.
Forensic work on Moore's body continues. McLane said the body had been tested for signs of rape but that the results weren't available Tuesday.
"We have gathered a lot of evidence, and there's more to come yet," she said.
Brenner said Frame didn't know Moore previously. Moore was working with a magazine sales crew identified as Liberator/Imperial Sales, which operates under a clearing company, Pacific Coast Clearing Services.
A call to a number for Liberator Sales in Las Vegas wasn't returned. A woman who answered the phone said she worked for the company but wasn't a spokeswoman.
McLane said a Liberator/Imperial employee reported Moore missing after the woman didn't show up to be picked up after a sales shift in Rapid Valley. The sales crew was allowed to leave town after authorities determined that members were not involved in Moore's disappearance and death, state Division of Criminal Investigation field supervisor Pat West said.
"We had interviewed those people. We were confident they weren't involved in the situation," West said.
McLane said there were no indications that alcohol or drugs were involved. She said Frame was "very cooperative" with authorities after turning himself in.
Brenner said the quick arrest should help reduce fears in the community.
"It was important to get across to the community that we're confident that we got the right guy and there isn't a killer on the loose," he said.
Contact Kevin Woster at 605-394-8413 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This Article was published online on Wednesday, April 28, 2004
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