A Yankton man serving life in prison for killing his girlfriend was not unduly prejudiced towards during trial. That’s the opinion that the South Dakota Supreme Court made on Thursday.
According to court documents, 47-year-old Stephen Falkenberg committed the murder on March first of 2019 in Yankton and then drove the body to his family’s property in Michigan. He cut off the victim’s head and hands, which have never been recovered. He then dumped her torso off a bridge onto the frozen river below.
Falkenberg told investigators he had shoved the victim, and she died when her head hit the wall. Witnesses testified that injuries to his right hand resembled a boxer’s fractures.
Falkenberg was convicted of second-degree murder, which carries a mandatory penalty of life without parole in the South Dakota State Penitentiary. He appealed that conviction to the South Dakota Supreme Court earlier this year.
The Supreme Court found that a restitution order covering future costs for the victim’s family was not appropriate. Justices remanded that decision for a restitution hearing and new order.