60 Years In Beating Death Of Former Rapid City Teacher

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – A man who admitted killing a former Rapid City teacher in 2017 after walking away from his work release job has been sentenced to 60-years in prison, with credit for nearly 3 years saed.

31-year old Andrew Eastman had accepted a plea agreement and pleaded Guilty to 1st-degree manslaughter in the death of 64-year old Larry Mintzlaff, whose family said they were satisfied with the sentence.

Eastman stole a pickup from his job at the Rapid City Landfill, then drove to Mintzlaff’s house and he beat him to death with a baseball bat. He then stole Mintzlaff’s vehicle and fled to New Mexico, where he was arrested 2 days later.

At sentencing, chief deputy state’s attorney Lara Roetzel described Eastman as “a cold blooded killer” who went to Mintzlaff’s home with a “premeditated plan” to kill him.

Eastman’s attorney told Judge Jeff Davis about Eastman’s troubled upbringing while a psychologist testified about that Eastman had been sexually abused as a child.

A statement from Eastman was read that said he had been drinking and went to Mitzlaff’s house to get a ride and said he doesn’t remember how the killing happened.

In handing down the 60-year term, Judge Davis said the system may have failed Eastman in the past, but said he failed himself this time.