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State v. Dunkelberger

Supreme Court of South Dakota

March 7, 2018

STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
JASON WAYNE DUNKELBERGER, Defendant and Appellant.


          MARTY J. JACKLEY Attorney General

          QUINCY R. KJERSTAD Assistant Attorney General Pierre, South Dakota Attorneys for plaintiff and appellee.

          BEAU J. BLOUIN of Minnehaha County Public Defender's Office Sioux Falls, South Dakota Attorneys for defendant and appellant.

          ZINTER, Justice

         [¶1.] Jason Wayne Dunkelberger was convicted of first-degree robbery. Much of the evidence directly implicating him was elicited from an accomplice. On appeal, Dunkelberger argues that the circuit court erred in admitting a surveillance video of him and the accomplice the day before the robbery. Dunkelberger contends that without the video, there was insufficient evidence to corroborate the accomplice's testimony. We disagree and affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2.] Lynde Miller was working at Jackson's Casino, located at the corner of Minnesota Avenue and 17th Street in Sioux Falls, during the early morning hours of December 9, 2015. At approximately 1:30 a.m., while Miller was counting money from the till, the casino's doorbell rang. Miller went to the door and was confronted by a man wearing a heavy coat over a hooded sweatshirt. The man's face was covered by the hood, heavily tinted sunglasses, and a mask or bandana. He forced himself into the casino, placed his hand in his right pocket, and demanded money. Miller observed a "bulge" in the man's pocket, which she believed was a gun.

         [¶3.] Miller gave the robber the money she was counting, which was bundled together with either paperclips or rubber bands. She also gave him money from the safe. The robber then told her to "sit" as he left the casino. Miller activated the panic button and watched him walk east down 17th Street and get into the passenger side of a light-colored sedan located a block away.

         [¶4.] Law enforcement arrived a few minutes later. Miller described the robber and said he was about 5′5″ or 5′6″ tall. Officer Matt Vandervelde walked toward the area where the robber went and discovered a pair of wet footprints that were headed in the direction of the casino. He did not observe any other footprints in the area.

         [¶5.] Detective Chris Bauman started an investigation. He noted that the description provided by Miller, as well as that shown in the casino's surveillance video, matched the description of an individual from another robbery. It also matched the description of an individual, later identified as Dunkelberger, who had been dropped off at the Truck Towne Plaza gas station in Beresford the night before the Jackson's Casino robbery. Video surveillance from Truck Towne Plaza showed Dunkelberger getting out of the passenger door of a white sedan and walking inside. He was wearing a heavy coat with the hood up and a mask or bandana covering most of his face. Dunkelberger grabbed a few items, approached the counter, and lowered the mask to reveal his face. He purchased the items and left as a passenger in the white sedan.

         [¶6.] Detective Bauman interviewed Dunkelberger concerning his possible involvement in the robbery. Dunkelberger indicated that he "was at the end of his rope" and could not make enough money to support his family. But he denied involvement in the casino robbery. The detective showed Dunkelberger still images from the Truck Towne Plaza video. Dunkelberger admitted that it was him in the video and that the white car belonged to his babysitter Mandy Konop.

         [¶7.] Detective Adam Zishka interviewed Konop. Konop implicated both herself and Dunkelberger. Dunkelberger was subsequently indicted for first-degree robbery. Konop received a lesser charge in exchange for cooperating with law enforcement and agreeing to testify against Dunkelberger.

         [¶8.] During trial, Konop described in detail what occurred during the robbery. She testified that she drove Dunkelberger to Jackson's Casino in her white car, circled the block several times, and parked facing the casino a "block or two" away on the north side of 17th Street. She testified that Dunkelberger went into the casino and returned five minutes later with money that was "paper-clipped together in little bundles." She also testified that ...

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