Prosecutor: Ex-Police Chief Killed Woman for Insurance Money

Prosecutors in a murder hearing of a former South Dakota military arch pronounced he killed his fiancee to collect some-more than $900,000 in word income and was sceptical that she was profound by another man.

Russell Bertram, 64, is charged with first-degree murder in a Oct 2009 genocide of 26-year-old Leonila Stickney, who was profound during a time. Prosecutors argued in opening statements during his hearing on Wednesday that aside from money, jealousy played a purpose since Bertram had undergone a vasectomy and knew a child couldn’t be his, a Daily Republic ( ) reported.

“After being shot, Leonila never regained consciousness, was never means to tell anyone what happened,” Assistant Attorney General Mikal Hanson said.

Bertram and Stickney began a attribute in 2009. Soon after, a $750,000 life word process was taken out on Stickney, followed by a smaller process with a $150,000 random genocide benefit, with Bertram as a beneficiary.

Bertram was not charged until late final year. The victim’s disloyal husband, David Stickney, perceived a minute months after her genocide from a life word association that was estimate a explain from Bertram, justice annals show. He afterwards contacted a South Dakota profession general’s bureau rapist division, environment in suit an review that led to a murder assign final fall.

Hanson told a jury Bertram altered his story during opposite interviews, including giving opposite accounts about how a gun was triggered, when he found out that Stickney was profound and what Stickney’s final difference were.

Bertram maintains he was putting his shotgun into his lorry after a sport outing in Gregory County when a arms dismissed accidentally, distinguished Stickney in a abdomen.

Bertram’s invulnerability group on Wednesday argued a box has zero to do with jealousy and that a word process was Stickney’s thought to yield for her family in a Philippines if anything happened to her.

Defense profession Mike Butler told a justice Bertram had sent income intermittently to Stickney’s family before he was arrested. He pronounced a box was entirely investigated during a time and that authorities motionless opposite impediment Bertram.

After Stickney’s death, Bertram trafficked to a Philippines and married Stickney’s sister Melissa del Valle, who has filed for divorce, citing “extreme cruelty,” according to justice records.

Butler pronounced that there is no justification that he abused possibly woman. Bertram did use Stickney’s cellphone after her genocide to send content messages to a male that he suspected had assimilated her, Butler said. But that should have no temperament on a case, a invulnerability counsel said.

“As for justification of dignified conduct, we suspect some would disagree as inappropriate,” Butler said. “I’m not here fortifying a ethics case. I’m fortifying a murder case.”


Information from: The Daily Republic,

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