A teenager accused in a fatal shooting in Rapid City more than three years ago has been found guilty of 2nd-degree murder by a jury in Pennington County.
17-year-old Ronald Black Cloud, who was 14 when the shooting occurred, was tried in adult court for the death of 43-year-old Nathan Graham.
During closing arguments Wednesday, Deputy State’s Attorney Lara Roetzel told jurors that Black Cloud acted without regard for human life, noting that he and his friend, Ross Johnson, were trespassing on Graham’s property the night of the shooting and were told to leave but didn’t.
The two had gone to Graham’s house looking for Graham’s stepson, despite Johnson knowing that he was not allowed at the home.
Roetzel also argued that neither Black Cloud’s nor Johnson’s safety was being threatened as Graham had been walking away from the two before he was shot by Black Cloud at Johnson’s instruction.
The defense argued self-defense, reminding jurors that Black Cloud testified he heard Graham threaten to shoot them and thought he saw Graham’s wife hand him a gun.
Black Cloud’s attorney also said there was plenty of blame to go around, starting with Graham – who was drunk, and the adults who’d supplied the drugs and alcohol the teens admitted having and the gun Johnson carried.
No sentencing date has been set. 2nd-degree murder normally carries a sentence of life without parole, but defendants younger than 18 must be given a set term of years with the possibility of parole.
Johnson was sentenced to 20 years in prison in June after he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and being an accessory to the 2nd-degree murder of Graham..