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Prosecutors plan to retry woman in nephew’s death

May 29, 2019

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Prosecutors plan to retry a Rapid City woman after jurors could not reach a verdict on whether she acted in self-defense when she fatally stabbed her nephew.

The 12-member jury was split on whether Lorraine Swallow, 33, was guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 28-year-old Tyrell Bull Bear last December. Jurors heard four days of testimony from witnesses and deliberated for about 10 hours on Friday but could not unanimously agree on a verdict.

Pennington County state’s attorney Mark Vargo tells the Rapid City Journal his office will retry Swallow.

Defense attorney Angela Colbath urged Judge Matt Brown to acquit Swallow after the jury couldn’t reach a verdict, saying there was no evidence she acted with a “depraved mind.” Prosecutor Stacy Wickre said Swallow could have walked away or asked for help after fighting with Bull Bear rather than stabbing him in the heart.

“She took advantage of a situation that didn’t put her in grave danger,” Wickre said.

Brown declined to acquit Swallow, saying jurors should be the ones who decide Swallow’s guilt or innocence.

Swallow testified on her behalf and cried as she told jurors that Bull Bear planned to beat up two of her relatives. She said Bull Bear pushed her and she grabbed a knife.

She said she was “just trying to scare him” and get his attention so he wouldn’t fight her relatives.

Swallow testified that she thought Bull Bear was going to hit her so she closed her eyes and raised her hands in front of her face, forgetting her knife was still in her hand. She said she remembers Bull Bear gently pushing her and when she opened her eyes, he was on the ground. She said she never moved toward him with the knife.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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