Lengthy Prison Sentence In Black Hills Homicide


        A Rapid City man has been sentenced to 70 years in prison with 15 years suspended for a homicide on Halloween 2021.

     31-year-old Andrew Thorson accepted a plea deal and last month pled guilty to 1st-degree manslaughter in the death of 24-year old Dhani Aronson.

     Thorson was originally charged with 2nd-degree murder, but the plea agreement dropped it to manslaughter with a recommendation of no more than 50 years in prison in return for a guilty plea.

      Circuit Court Judge Stacy Wickre was not bound by the sentence recommendation, but came close to it with the suspended 15 years. With 555 days credit for time already beyond bars, Thorson will be eligible for parole in about 27 years.

     Prosecutors say Thorson shot Aronson in the head and dumped his body in a ditch in the Black Hills, where a passerby spotted it the following morning. Thorson and 25-year old Jacob Staton were arrested later that day, Stanton as an accessory.

     At sentencing, Araonson’s father and stepmother told Judge Wickre how much he loved his 2 daughters and his extended family, how much he was loved by them, and how his death devastated them all.

   Thorson then apologized to the family for the pain he caused, saying he’ll be dealing with the repercussions of his actions for the rest of his life.

       Judge Wickre said she arrived at her sentence by balancing Thorson’s minimal criminal record, cooperation with authorities, and acceptance of responsibility against the taking of a life.

      She said there were “some aggravating factors that bothered” her, including the fact that Thorson took no medical actions to save Aronson’s life after shooting him – not even calling an ambulance – but did take several steps to hide the crime.