Rapid City firefighter testifies during Western Thrifty Inn murder trial

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

The latest court developments for a man accused in the November 2015 fatal beating of Helen Wright at the Western Thrifty Inn. READ THE ORIGINAL STORY


Sept. 8

The prosecution questioned Sarah Allender, a firefighter and paramedic with the Rapid City Fire Department.

Allender was dispatched to the Western Thrifty Inn on Nov. 4, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. for a cardiac arrest report. That's when she found Helen Wright covered in bruises with a bloody nose, lying on the motel bed and showing no signs of life.

The Rapid City Police Department determined that Wright had been assaulted. 

Interrogation tapes were also reviewed from Nov. 15, 2015 that show Brian Duncan saying that Wright had serious medical issues and she often fell down.

The trial will continue through the week of Sept. 11.


March 23

Brain Duncan, 61, was arraigned at the Pennington County Courthouse for a suppression hearing.

Duncan has pleaded not guilty to a second-degree murder charge in the death of Helen Wright, 60. Wright was found dead at the Western Thrifty Inn on East North Street on Nov. 4, 2015.

The defense is seeking to suppress statements made to law enforcement during Duncan’s arrest in Texas.

READ MORE: Little Eagle man indicted in child pornography case

San Marcos Police Cpl. Candice Elrod stopped Duncan for hitchhiking on Interstate 35 in Texas on June 18, 2016. Elrod testified on Thursday, saying that before his arrest, Duncan stated he had a warrant in Colorado. After his arrest, Duncan claimed he had only been in South Dakota in the early 2000s and in 2011.

While there was reportedly video evidence recording these conversations, the video is said to have gone missing after a system change in Texas. The San Marcos Police Department is currently looking for the video.

Duncan will be back in court on April 10 with a resolution to the suppression motion. His trial is scheduled for mid-June. Bail is set for $750,000, cash only.

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