McLaughlin Man Convicted of First Degree Murder and Firearm Charge

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced that Casey Lynn Crow Ghost, age 44, of McLaughlin, South Dakota, was found guilty of First Degree Murder and Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence that Causes Death as a result of a three-day federal jury trial in Aberdeen, South Dakota.  The verdict was returned on August 11, 2022. 

The convicted charges carry penalties of mandatory life in prison and a $250,000 maximum fine, as well as a $200 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund, and restitution.    

Crow Ghost was indicted by a federal grand jury in January of 2021. 

The conviction stems from the December 12, 2020, shooting death of Crow Ghost’s romantic partner in McLaughlin.  The victim’s body was discovered on December 15, 2020, and an autopsy determined she died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head.  Crow Ghost was interviewed by law enforcement and claimed that the shooting was both an accident and a result of self-defense.  Evidence gathered by law enforcement showed Crow Ghost murdered the victim with a handgun and did so with premeditation. 

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

This case was investigated by the FBI, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services, Standing Rock Agency, and the Corson County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron J. Cook prosecuted the case.

A presentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing date was set for October 31, 2022.  The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

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