The Pennington County Courthouse and jail complex in Rapid City, in June 2023. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)
Prosecutors in Rapid City have connected with the family of Acey Morrison, a transgender Native American woman shot to death more than a year ago by a man who says he shot her in self-defense.
Pennington County State’s Attorney Lara Roetzel met with Morrison’s family to discuss the case this week, spokeswoman Katy Urban told South Dakota Searchlight, and a final decision on how to proceed with the case will come at a later date. Roetzel’s office will soon begin a multi-week murder trial in a separate case.
Urban said she could not offer any additional details on the Morrison case.
Morrison’s mother, Edelyn Catches, said she and her family were heartened during the meeting this week to hear prosecutors say they’d push through with the investigation, even though she knows that South Dakota’s strong self-defense laws could complicate matters in court.
The explanation of the self-defense statutes “wasn’t very reassuring,” Catches said, but she pledged her family’s cooperation in any court proceedings.
“They asked me if I wanted to follow through, and I said ‘of course we do,’” Catches said.
There’s never been a question as to who killed Morrison. The man who shot her told investigators he was defending himself. The two of them connected on a dating app and met on a Saturday night at the man’s north Rapid City home. He shot her the following morning.
Catches said she’s not certain how the situation will proceed, but that the meeting left her with hope that the justice system hasn’t forgotten about Morrison.
“I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” she said.
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