Jury hung on assault charge

The two-year wait that Mike Lemley thought would finally be over this week continues.

On Thursday, a Fall River County jury convicted 41-year-old Custer City man Cory Schmitz of driving his speedboat while drunk on Angostura Reservoir in 2015.

But the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on Schmitz’s other charge of aggravated assault, which authorities say stems from his running over 31-year-old Lemley who was then wakeboarding in the reservoir.

Investigators said Lemley, of Rapid City, suffered serious injuries: head trauma and several lacerations to his upper back and shoulders. He was airlifted to Rapid City Regional Hospital for treatment.

The trial outcome came around 7:30 p.m. Thursday, on its fourth day and some eight hours after the case was handed to the jury for deliberation, said Schmitz’s attorney Randy Connelly.

The jury found Schmitz guilty of boating under the influence of alcohol, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail. It was deadlocked, however, on whether he was guilty also of assaulting Lemley, according to officials.

The prosecutor, Fall River County State’s Attorney Jim Sword, said he will retry Schmitz on the felony charge, which is punishable by up 15 years in prison.

Schmitz’s third charge, vehicular battery, was dismissed on Wednesday following a request from the prosecutor.

Schmitz will return to court Nov. 14 for sentencing, before 7th Circuit Judge Craig Pfeifle, on his drunken boating offense. There is no schedule yet for his new trial on the aggravated assault charge.

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Connelly, who represented Schmitz together with Angela Colbath, said the defense is prepared to go back to trial.

Lemley is also preparing to again testify in court.

“It’s a damn shame that the system should go through this much trouble to hold somebody accountable for their actions,” he said in a phone interview Friday morning.

Lemley said he has “healed well” from his injuries but that there are unseen consequences of that incident on the evening of Aug. 15, 2015, that he and his family will continue to live with.

“People should be held accountable for their actions … whether it was intentional or not,” he said Lemley. “No matter how rich you are, or how above the law you think you are, everybody still has to fall under the same laws.”

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