A Rapid City teenager has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for a fatal shooting nearly 4 years ago.
18-year-old Ronald Black Cloud was 14 at the time of the killing of 43-year-old Nathan Graham, but after nearly 2 years of legal arguments was charged as an adult.
Black Cloud was convicted by a jury last October of 2nd-degree murder and will receive credit for the roughly 3-½ years he’s been in jail.
The standard penalty in South Dakota for 2nd-degree murder is life without parole, but Black Cloud was sentenced under a state law passed in the wake of a U-S Supreme Court ruling prohibiting minors from being given life without parole.
Black Cloud is the second person given a lengthy prison term for Graham’s murder. Ross Johnson, who was 16 at the time of the killing, was sentenced to 20 years last June after taking a plea deal.
Prosecutors say Johnson and Black Cloud were friends with Graham’s stepson and went to see him at Graham’s home even though Graham had barred Johnson from the house.
When they were told to leave, Johnson gave Black Cloud a gun and told him to shoot Graham, which he did as Graham walked away.
At Black Cloud’s October trial, Roetzel told jurors that Black Cloud acted without regard for human life and that neither he nor Johnson had a claim of self-defense since Graham was walking away from them when he was killed.
Johnson was originally also charged with 2nd-degree murder, but reached a plea agreement that dropped his charges to aggravated assault and accessory to 2nd-degree murder in exchange for a guilty plea and testifying against Black Cloud.