Rapid City woman gets maximum sentence in nephew’s stabbing death

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Family members of the Rapid City woman responsible for the stabbing death of her nephew, appeared in Pennington County court Monday to see an end to the case troubling their family for nine months.

Lorraine Swallow, 33, of Rapid City will serve 10 years in the state penitentiary for the stabbing death of her nephew, 28-year-old Tyrell Bull Bear. She will receive credit for the 275 days already served.

Through emotional testimony, Swallow’s sister, Jennifer Long, offered love to Lorraine but not without a wish for justice for Tyrell. “I love you sister, but why?” said Long.

Long said she wanted to let Lorraine know she loved her, didn’t hate her, but couldn’t forgive her for taking the life of her nephew. She said it hurts the most when Tyrell’s son, 3-year-old Chavez, asks for his dad. “He doesn’t understand,” said Long.

Both Long and Tyrell’s brother, Daniel Bull Bear, described Tyrell as a “kind-hearted man” who “didn’t deserve this.”

Swallow’s attorney, Angela Colbath, agreed with the family but continued to say that he was a kind person “when he wasn’t using alcohol.” Colbath said “alcohol was part of the equation” that night.

Throughout court proceedings, Swallow maintains that she stabbed Tyrell in self-defense and he impaled himself after lunging at her.

“I don’t buy it,” said Seventh Circuit Judge Matt Brown, who has presided over the case. He described the night as one in which a number of poor decisions contributed to Tyrell’s death.

Before handing down the sentence, Brown said he hadn’t heard Swallow accept responsibility for stabbing Tyrell. He described the case as a “somber tragedy” due to the loss of life and the family connections involved.

Swallow was facing a mandatory life sentence if convicted of the original charge, second-degree murder. She went to trial in May but a jury couldn’t reach a verdict.

In a rare Alford plea last month, Swallow agreed to second-degree manslaughter which is punishable up to 10 years in jail. In an Alford plea, Swallow maintains her innocence but acknowledges the evidence against her would be enough to garner conviction at trial.

According to Brown, Swallow “got one hell of a deal.”

Swallow declined to speak during the sentencing hearing.

Swallow’s sister tells NewsCenter1 she wishes Swallow received more time but acknowledging the sentence, she says their family is now focusing on taking care of Chavez and making sure Tyrell’s name doesn’t fade away.

Swallow has 30 days to appeal the decision.

Categories: Crime, Local News