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Old 03-10-2007, 09:02 AM
Gary Dee Gary Dee is offline
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Alert Jailhouse Informant Helping With 1971 Cold Case

A judge in Union County is deciding whether to allow evidence gathered by a jailhouse informant in a murder trial.

Thirty-six-year-old Aloysius Black Crow testified last week that his cellmate, James Strahl, admitted to a 1998 murder and to also killing a 14-year-old Wyoming girl.

Aloysius Black Crow

While testifying in that hearing, we also learned Black Crow's conversations with another inmate could crack a very high-profile cold case.

Probably the best-known South Dakota cold case re-opened is the 1971 disappearance of Pam Jackson and Sherri Miller near Beresford. Two sources in law enforcement confirm to KELOLAND News that Aloysius Black Crow has helped gather evidence against a man called "a person of interest" in the case.

Investigators believe David Lykken knows something about the disappearance of Pam Jackson and Sherri Miller, the two Vermillion girls who were on their way to a party near Lykken's farm more than 30 years ago.

Lykken is now in prison for a separate rape charge, but one of Lykken's fellow inmates at the South Dakota State Penitentiary might help prosecutors bring a charge against him in the Cold Case.

In a court hearing last week, Aloysius Black Crow said "an inmate" was giving him information in the Pen about the unsolved Union County case.

He says investigators had him wear a wire and Black Crow recorded a statement from that inmate.

Investigators can't comment on the Lykken investigation while it's open, but the prosecutor who put Black Crow in prison believes he's the type of inmate that would make a good informant.

"Somebody who's committed a bunch of murders isn't going to talk to anybody except somebody he feels comfortable with," says Lake County Montana Attorney Mitchell Young.

Black Crow's rap sheet is long, and he has a history of snitching on other inmates. In fact, Black Crow is actually a Montana prisoner moved the South Dakota pen for his own safety after testifying against another Montana inmate in 1995.

And now Black Crow is in custody at the Union County jail, waiting to testify before a grand jury when investigators are ready to bring charges against Lykken.

Black Crow is serving time for a violent burglary and assault. He won't be eligible for parole for another 11 years. But Black Crow hopes his testimony against other inmates could help him get out of prison sooner.

Right now, there's no indication when he'll testify before the Grand Jury in the Lykken case.,55014
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Old 03-10-2007, 09:05 AM
Gary Dee Gary Dee is offline
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Exclamation Family Files Lawsuit Stemming From 1971 Case

Family Files Lawsuit Stemming From 1971 Case

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -- Through an attorney, 84-year-old Esther Lykken and her husband, Kerwyn, forcefully deny they had anything to do with the disappearance of two Vermillion girls in 1971.

The Lykkens have filed a federal lawsuit, saying state law enforcement agents accused them of covering up the disappearance. The suit says agents believed the girls' remains were buried on their farm near Alcester.

Attorney General Larry Long says he hasn't seen the lawsuit yet and that the state's Office of Risk Management would be dealing with it.

The lawsuit is the first public account of law officers accusing anyone of killing Sherri Miller and Pamella Jackson, both 17 at the time of their disappearance.

The Lykkens' lawyer, David Hosmer, says he doesn't know what's behind the law officers' accusations. He says he tried to unseal affidavits in the case that might shed light on the question but was unsuccessful.

Previous court documents say the Lykkens' son, David, has been a suspect. He's serving a 227-year prison term for an unrelated crime.
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:17 PM
Gary Dee Gary Dee is offline
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Exclamation Judge: Part of jailhouse talk admissible in trial

Judge: Part of jailhouse talk admissible in trial

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -- A judge has ruled that an experienced informant was not working for the government when he started eliciting incriminating statements from James Strahl, who is awaiting trial for a 1998 slaying.

Circuit Judge Steven Jensen ruled that Aloysius Black Crow got information from Strahl on his own at first but became a government agent once an investigator became aware of the conversations.

Black Crow reportedly got statements from Strahl, 39, about the rape and murder of a Wyoming runaway. Amanda Gallion, then 14, disappeared from Gillette, Wyo., in 1997. Black Crow claims Strahl told him he had raped and murdered Gallion.

Strahl is in jail awaiting trial in Elk Point for the 1998 killing of William O'Hare, 52, of Beresford.

Jensen's Friday ruling means any statements Black Crow obtained after talking with the investigator will not be admissible in the O'Hare case.

The state wants to use Black Crow's statements against Strahl, hoping prior acts will show that the O'Hare killing was intentional.

His trial is set to start Aug. 1 in Elk Point.

Strahl's lawyer, Phil Peterson, argued that Black Crow was placed at the jail to gather information.

But Strahl was arrested two months after Black Crow was transferred to the Elk Point jail, and prosecutors said the state chose the jail because Black Crow's grand jury testimony was wanted there in an unrelated case.

Jensen said it's Black Crow "deliberately elicited" the information. But the judge was not convinced Black Crow was instructed or paid for obtaining the admission from Strahl.

In February, testimony on the defense's motion to suppress Black Crow's evidence detailed his movement from a Montana prison to the South Dakota State Penitentiary to jails in Minnehaha County and Union County. Black Crow's work as an enterprising snitch led to each transfer.
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