Rapid City man sentenced for brother’s stabbing death
RAPID CITY, S.D. – A Rapid City man who stabbed his younger brother to death last year, learned his fate Friday afternoon following emotional testimony from his family.
James Ladeaux, Sr., 55, was sentenced Friday to ten years in prison with three years suspended and credit for 311 days served.
In December, Ladeaux pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, a crime punishable up to 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine or both. He was originally charged with first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement.
Just before midnight on March 18, Ladeaux stabbed his brother, Fred, once with a knife during a fight. Pennington County Deputy State’s Attorney Lara Roetzel stated Friday that Ladeaux was found by police shortly after the altercation, crying and sitting next to his brother with a bottle of vodka and a knife.
Ladeaux’s mother, brother, and niece testified on both brothers behalf, each mentioning the effect that drugs and alcohol had on their family members’ lives.
“It was the drinking, it was the alcohol,” said Florence Janis, the brothers’ mother. Michael Red Cloud, the youngest brother, says James succumbed to drugs after building a life for himself.
James later testified that drugs and alcohol had “destroyed his life.” Remembering the night he took his brother’s life, James says he recalls Fred talking about “quitting drinking and getting a job so they didn’t have to walk around all night.”
Seventh Circuit Judge Jane Pfeifle described it as a very challenging case. In her four years of sitting on the bench, Pfeifle says she hasn’t seen anyone take full responsibility for their actions in the way Ladeaux has.
Pfeifle says police reports and letters written by Ladeaux show he hasn’t once placed the blame on any person or thing besides himself.
“This is what happens when people use drugs and alcohol and carry a weapon,” said Pfeifle.