Police: Robbery that ended in murder planned by Dells men
December 10. 2013 1:09PM
Two Dell Rapids men organized the robbery-gone-bad that ended with a murder last week in Sioux Falls, according to authorities.
Sioux Falls police say Kevin Rice and Douglas Scholten, both 20, of Dell Rapids enlisted two high school students from Watertown to go to the home of Jordan LeBeau in northwest Sioux Falls, Monday, Dec. 2 to steal a large amount of money.
The two Watertown teens, Tyler Kruthoff, 17, and Brian David Anderson, 18, were instructed to wait until their target was alone in the house he shared with his father at 4205 N. Alaska Drive before breaking in to rob him of $100,000 in drug money, police say.
That didn’t happen.
LeBeau’s father walked down the stairs to the laundry room to find his son, beaten and bound with duct tape. The father attacked his son’s assailants, but one of them shot him in the arm with a 9mm handgun, dropping him to the floor.
He saw his son get up and take after the shooter. He heard another shot. His son hit the floor.
The 48-year-old later told police “he could see Jordan’s face turn to white and knew at that point Jordan was dead,” according to a police affidavit.
The next day, Kruthoff admitted to his mother during a recorded interview with law enforcement that he had shot LeBeau and LeBeau’s father at the urging of his friend Anderson.
When police arrived to the murder scene around 3 p.m., none of the four accused were in the home and police immediately began their investigation.
Tuesday morning, Rice and Scholten were taken into custody near Dell Rapids at their workplaces. Later in the day, the Watertown teens were also arrested.
Rice was apprehended after authorities learned that he was at his business, Auto Trends, at 24668 475th Avenue just south of Dell Rapids on Tuesday morning, Sheriff Mike Milstead said. Officers surrounded the building, called into the business, and Rice gave himself up willingly.
Scholten was found next after police surrounded a hog farm where he was working on 481st Avenue south of Jasper Street. Officer isolated the suspect in one location without his knowledge, and a phone call was made inside to Scholten, sheriff’s office Lt. Paul Niedringhaus said.
Hostage negotiators called the men after officers and deputies surrounded their respective workplaces, Milstead said.
“Both of them came out without incident,” Milstead said.
Rice and Scholten are charged with aiding and abetting first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and aggravated assault. A judge set bond for each of the Dell Rapids men at $250,000.
Anderson and Kruthoff are charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, as well as robbery, burglary and assault charges.
Police say the two Dell Rapids men had recruited the high school students to rob LeBeau before giving them a handgun and directions to the quiet northwestern Sioux Falls neighborhood where he lived.
Scholten told police that they reached out to the Watertown teens and met them at a home in Dell Rapids to give them the firearm – which Scholten said belonged to Rice.
Investigators found what police spokesman Sam Clemens called a “substantial amount” of money and marijuana, along with at least one controlled substance, inside the LeBeau home.
“This was drug-related,” Clemens said.
In court on Wednesday, Minnehaha County deputy state’s attorney Eric Johnson told Judge John Hinrichs that Scholten and at least one other person had identified Rice as a drug dealer who was aware that LeBeau had money in his home.
Rice formulated the plan, helped recruit the two teens from Watertown, and gave them the loaded gun for use in the robbery, Johnson said.
Johnson asked Hinrichs to hold Rice on a $500,000 cash bond. Rice already is facing a felony drug charge for a May DUI arrest involving morphine and amphetamines.
“We obviously believe he’s a danger to the community,” Johnson said.
Rice’s defense lawyer, deputy public defender Ashley Sergeant, told the judge that her client was a business owner with strong ties to the Dell Rapids community. She asked for a lower cash or surety bond, saying Rice could stay with family and remain on electronic monitoring while the case was pending.
Sergeant also reminded the judge that Rice was not charged with murder.
Scholten’s lawyer, Tressa Zahrbock Kool, told the judge her client had cooperated with police from the start. She too noted her client’s involvement stopped short of murder.
“As I understand it, he was never at the (LeBeau) house,” Zahrbock Kool said.
Hinrichs set bond at $250,000 cash for each of the defendants. The judge also ordered that Scholten and Rice have no contact with one another or with the two Watertown teens.
LeBeau was a 2011 graduate of West Central High School who attended one semester at Southeast Technical Institute. Rice was a 2011 graduate of Dell Rapids High School, and Scholten graduated from St. Mary High School in 2011.
Search affects Dell Rapids schools
On Tuesday, Dec. 3, schools in Dell Rapids were put under a secured perimeter as a precaution. Students weren’t allowed to leave the building, and nobody could enter. Police were initially looking at a home on Ninth Street before finding the two people at different locations.
Dana Stelzer, 52, of Dell Rapids, moved into the apartment across the street from the Ninth Street home. Around 9:30 a.m. he walked over to his window to open his blinds and saw law enforcement vehicles parked outside of a yellow home in the 800 block of Ninth Street.
“I thought they were going to escort a funeral reception but when I saw the rifles… I realized it was something else,” he said.
Stelzer woke his wife up around 10 a.m. and they, along with other concerned neighbors, stood at the intersection of Ninth Street and Garfield Avenue trying to figure why they were so many police cars in the neighborhood.
“It’s unusual to see all these police car,” he said.
Before calming down, Stelzer said another law enforcement vehicle “came flying down the street.” He saw that officer huddle up with other officers on scene, then everyone packed up and took off east down the street to the farmhouse. One person was later found at a farm on 481st Avenue south of Jasper Street east of Dell Rapids. It isn’t known where the other person was found.
During the situation in Dell Rapids, St. Mary principal Brad Peters said the school was put in "stay-put mode.” Activities inside the school continued as normal, he said. The three public schools were placed under a “secured perimeter” shortly after 9:30 a.m. at the request of law enforcement, said superintendent Summer Schultz. The perimeter was in effect until 11:15 a.m. The public school system houses about 920 students, Schultz said.
Rice and James both have multiple drug arrests in their South Dakota criminal history. Rice’s most recent felony charge came after a traffic stop in May and a blood test that revealed morphine and amphetamines in his system.
Rice was charged with separate felonies in 2011 for possession of stolen property and misprision of a felony. Court records in that case say Rice admitted to taking and then disposing of a Glock handgun stolen from the private vehicle of a former Tea Police Officer and current Dell Rapids resident.
Rice told officers the name of a minor whom he said had stolen the gun. Rice was sentenced to 360 days in jail with 300 days suspended for misprision of a felony, also known as failure to report a crime.
Rice and Scholten each have marijuana possession charges on their records.