Man sentenced for 2016 axe murder, arson

RAPID CITY, S.D. — A 19-year-old from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation was sentenced to over 30 years in federal prison Tuesday for an axe murder in Oct. 2016.

Emery Arapahoe III, 19, was sentenced to 21.8 years for killing Raymond Waters, Jr., and another 10 years for burning down the trailer the murder occurred in. The sentences will run consecutively.

During the sentencing hearing, Arapahoe had been drinking when he stole a truck and drove to Waters’s residence in Allen. When Arapahoe arrived, he found Waters asleep on the couch. Arapahoe picked up an axe and struck Waters multiple times in the head and neck, killing him. Judge Jeffrey Viken described the wounds as horrific.

Arapahoe set fire to the trailer and took the blood soaked axe with him into the stolen vehicle. He later crashed the truck near the trailer and watched law enforcement arrive on scene of the emblazoned trailer.

Arapahoe was also involved in two separate assault cases both before and after the murder. Both cases will be dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Viken, Arapahoe’s defense attorney, Jennifer Albertsons, and the U.S. prosecutor, Megan Poppen referenced Arapahoe’s “serious psychiatric problems.”

Albertson spoke on Arapahoe’s behalf, stating “nobody showed up for him” whether it was through court proceedings or throughout his childhood. She said Arapahoe had been abused growing up and began showing signs of anger issues in the second grade. “Somebody could’ve prevented this”, she said before asking Viken to consider psych placement along with the sentence.

For the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Poppen said Arapahoe was “long past the point of rehabilitation” and his actions showed deliberateness in each piece of the night surrounding Waters’s death.

Viken said in his 42 years of being involved with the law, he’d only seen one or two cases where someone was so violent and deliberate. “A strong factor is the protection of the community,” he added before handing down the sentence.

“I don’t see any alternative given your history and behaviors,” said Viken. In addition to the 31.8 years, Viken recommended time be spent in a mental health facility. Following his jail time, Arapahoe will spend five years with supervised release.

Categories: Crime, Local News