Former police chief to enter plea this month in murder case

BURKE, S.D. (AP) — A former police chief in South Dakota is expected to enter a plea later this month to a first-degree murder charge for the death of his fiance.

Sixty-three-year-old Russell Ray Bertram appeared in court Tuesday, but proceedings were delayed until late September.

Bertram served as the Harrisburg police chief until 2004.

Bertram was indicted last week by a Gregory County grand jury for the 2009 killing of 26-year-old Leonila Stickney. Initially, the county sheriff's office said officials believed she died in an accidental shooting.

The state Division of Criminal Investigation took over the inquiry as a cold case in 2010.

Charlie Wolf served as Gregory County sheriff at the time. He says he didn't find physical evidence that disputed Bertram's account of events, but says Bertram's demeanor concerned him.


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