Sentence stands for Rapid City man serving 15 years for 2016 shooting death
RAPID CITY, S.D. — The judgement for a Rapid City man sentenced to 15 years in prison for the 2016 shooting death of Kiawe Walker will stand, a judge ruled in Pennington County court Friday
Mark Heinen, 37, was sentenced in 2017 to the maximum penalty for second-degree manslaughter. Earlier this year, his attorney John Murphy filed a motion to modify the judgement by suspending four years of Heinen’s sentence, which would make him parole eligible in the summer of 2024, opposed to late 2025. Heinen appeared via video feed from the State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls.
Heinen testified Friday to summarize the work he’s accomplished during his time of incarceration, describing time spent building Habitat for Humanity homes, involvement in religious groups, and classwork. In a statement, he admitted to hitting rock bottom around the time of his sentencing in 2017. Now, Heinen says he wants to “change the outcome to something positive from here on out.”
Heinen was originally spending his sentence in Springfield but was transferred to Sioux Falls. Heinen explained when prompted by Judge Jane Wipf Pfeifle, that the move was due to a fight that occurred between him and another inmate about a year ago.
Walker’s mother, Nicole Lucey, and younger sister, Kassie Bloom testified against a change in judgement. Reducing the time served is “asking for a chance that Kiawe didn’t have,” said Lucey. Walker leaves behind multiple family members, including a son of his own, Alkai Xion, 3.
Pfeifle acknowledged the progress Heinen has made but said she does not have a sense that Heinen has changed in a way to justify sentence modification, given the fight that occurred just a year prior.
After the hearing, Bloom told NewsCenter1 she’s thankful Pfeifle did not shorten the sentence. “On the daily I remember Kiawe,” said Bloom. “When stuff like this comes up, it definitely brings back all the memories that were there the day we found out he was killed.”