S.D. inmate charged with perjury, new trial request filed

By Carson Walker
Sioux Falls, South Dakota (AP) 3-08

A prison snitch has been charged in Elk Point with lying about an alleged murder confession, and a convicted killer he helped send to prison asked for a new trial Thursday.

The complaint filed in Union County against Aloysius Black Crow, 37, charges him with two counts of perjury for lying under oath to a grand jury May 24 and at a court hearing Jan. 17.

On Feb. 21, after failing a lie-detector test, he acknowledged making secret recordings in 2006 suggesting fellow inmate David Lykken admitted to killing two Vermillion girls in 1971 – but it really was a third inmate posing as Lykken, according to court documents.

That inmate, William Eutzy Sr., 68, has not been charged. Black Crow was scheduled to make his initial appearance in Elk Point.

Prosecutors dropped charges against Lykken, 53, after Black Crow told them about the scheme, FBI voice testing concluded it was Eutzy on the digital recordings and two prison workers said the same.

Black Crow also was an informant and key witness in another Union County cold case that resulted in the conviction of James Strahl, 30, of Dakota City, Neb., for the May 1998 beating death of William O’Hare at his Beresford farm house.

An Elk Point jury convicted Strahl of grand theft and first-degree murder. He was sentenced in August to life in prison.

Black Crow testified that Strahl confessed to killing O’Hare because O’Hare refused to give him a ride back to Sioux City, Iowa, where the two men met at an adult bookstore.

Black Crow was convicted in Montana of first-degree robbery and commission of a felony while armed. He was transferred to South Dakota after snitching on an inmate and fearing for his safety.

Black Crow has acknowledged to being an informant on inmates in other murder cases and did so in hopes of reducing his 90-year sentence and getting an early parole date.

Unlike with the Lykken case, investigators had physical evidence that pointed to Strahl, including his fingerprints on a beer can and a potato chip bag found in O’Hare’s house and DNA on a cigarette butt in O’Hare’s station wagon found in South Sioux City, Neb., blocks from where Strahl was living.

Black Crow also told investigators that Strahl raped and killed runaway Amanda Gallion after she disappeared from Gillette, Wyo., in 1997 at age 14.

Strahl’s lawyer, Phil Peterson, filed a motion Thursday for a new trial because of the perjury charges against Black Crow.

Peterson declined further comment. But the move suggests if Black Crow lied in other cases, he also could have fabricated testimony against Strahl.

South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long said he’s not surprised by the request for a new trial. But because the case is before a judge again he said he couldn’t comment on it or the Lykken case – though he said “they are substantially different cases factually.”

Lykken pleaded not guilty to six alternate counts of murder for the May 1971 disappearance of high school juniors Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson. The 17-year-olds were last seen driving a 1960 Studebaker on a rural road on their way to a party.

Lykken’s trial was to start in Elk Point but was canceled when the charges were dismissed.

He’s serving a 225-year prison sentence for the unrelated 1990 rape and kidnapping of a former girlfriend in Vermillion.

Eutzy, an inmate from Florida incarcerated in South Dakota since 1996 to be closer to family, was convicted of first-degree murder in 1983 for shooting to death a taxicab driver in Pensacola, Fla.

He was sentenced to death but was re-sentenced in 1992 to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years.

Though Black Crow fessed up, Eutzy denies posing as Lykken, according to a report that South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation Agent Mike Braley filed Thursday.

The report also details how investigators realized the recordings were fake and Black Crow’s connections to Eutzy:

– Braley spoke with Eutzy Jan. 10 and suspected the recorded voice was his so investigators decided to have Black Crow take a polygraph test.

– The DCI on Feb. 12 sent five audio disks to the FBI containing several recordings of Black Crow, Lykken and Eutzy.

– On Feb. 15, Braley interviewed Phyllis Olson, a school supervisor at the prison who works with Eutzy, a computer lab teacher. She said she remembers Eutzy asking an American Indian inmate to be allowed in his classroom and listen to Lakota tapes. Black Crow is Indian.

– Braley and another agent on Feb. 19 interviewed inmate Robert Thomas Brim, who also teaches at the prison school. Brim said that once when his computer class was full he remembers Eutzy saying “that Black Crow ‘was good people, see if you can get him in class.”’

– During that visit the agents also spoke with Corrections Cpl. Debra Boddicker, who listened to two of the recordings Black Crow made in 2006 and stated that one “sounds like Eutzy” and the other “more like Eutzy” than Lykken. The investigators also played two clips for Olson, who identified the voice as Eutzy.

– The agents and a prosecutor interviewed Eutzy Feb. 19 and he repeatedly denied being the voice on the recording: “Not me, doesn’t even sound like me.”

– On Feb. 21, the agents received papers from Eutzy’s cell containing phrases such as “where the bodies are,” “reliving memories” and “The Shooters” – suggesting they were cheat sheets.

– That same day, Black Crow’s polygraph test indicated deception and when confronted about it, told investigators the whole story.

Black Crow said Lykken did acknowledge killing Miller and Jackson, but not when Black Crow was wearing a hidden microphone. So he and Eutzy made the secret recordings in the prison library, laundry room and Eutzy’s classroom.

Their signal: “Black Crow would remove his glasses to indicate to Eutzy that he was wearing a wire and recording their conversation,” Braley wrote.

“Black Crow insisted that the information provided by Eutzy during the recorded conversations was information he received from Lykken in prior conversations,” he stated.

Also on Feb. 21, Braley said investigators received word from the FBI that the recordings were of Eutzy, not Lykken.

The next day Olson reported that “Eutzy had fallen apart emotionally and either he had to kill Lykken or kill himself.”