“No question that something tragic happened that night;” Allac Dismounts Thrice’s trial is underway
RAPID CITY, S.D. – Testimony in the trial of a man charged in a 2020 beating death got underway on Tuesday. Allac “A.J.” Dismounts Thrice is charged with first-degree murder in the September 3, 2020, death of Richard Montanez.
In its opening statement, the prosecution alleged that Dismounts Thrice beat Montanez to death with a roofing hammer. Two others, Jessalyn Cook and Cody Good Soldier, also suffered blunt force trauma to the head, resulting in the need for long-term rehabilitative care for both girls. Dismounts Thrice is charged with premeditated 1st-degree murder in the death of Richard Montanez and two counts of premeditated Attempted 1st-degree murder of Jessalyn Cook and Cody Good Soldier.
The defense, led by Angela Colbath, agreed that something awful happened in the house that day, but says the who and the how of what happened are very murky. Colbath went on to paint a picture of a home full of people coming and going day and night, either to use or to purchase drugs. The defense claims that Montanez’s house had more people going in and out than any other nearby location except for a Little Ceasar’s Pizza store.
On September 3, 2020, Detective Santee Burnette from the Rapid City Police Department (RCPD), was the first responder to arrive on the scene after the 911 call had been made. Burnette testified she was greeted by Megan Crazy Thunder, Alyssa Richard (a neighbor whose phone had been used to call 911), along with Montanez’s seven-year-old son. Crazy Thunder told Burnette, “It’s really bad in there.” After securing the home, Burnette reported that there were three victims all suffering blunt-force trauma to the head. There didn’t appear to be any signs of struggle and Burnette testified that it was likely that the victims were asleep and never woke up from the attack. Burnette said that Montanez was face down on a mattress. Jessalyn Cook was in the same room as Montanez during the attack and suffered substantial wounds to the head. Good Soldier was in the first bedroom and Burnette described a large pool of blood dripping on the floor.
One witness, Megan Crazy Thunder, testified that Montanez was a single dad with two boys, ages 7 and 3 at the time. He was described as being very friendly and very social. Crazy Thunder had befriended Montanez a couple of months before his death. She helped by watching the boys. On the day in question, Crazy Thunder had arrived at Montanez’s house to make breakfast for the children. Crazy Thunder testified that she was dozing on one of the couches when she was startled by a terrible smacking noise. The seven-year-old came out of one of the bedrooms and said, “He is hitting my dad with a hammer.” Crazy Thunder saw Dismounts Thrice coming out of the bedroom with a hammer that he was wrapping up in a brown towel. Crazy Thunder said that because of outstanding warrants against her, she had originally wanted to flee the scene but decided to stay with the young children. Everyone else that had been in the home fled, including Dismounts Thrice.
This trial has been scheduled for the next three weeks.