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Joseph Dowty - mug shot


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A 27-year-old man pleaded not guilty Friday to a fatal beating in Rapid City last month. It was the city’s first homicide case of 2018.

Joseph Dowty, a local resident, is charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Nathaniel Ten Fingers on Jan. 26.

Rapid City police said Ten Fingers had been assaulted. They found him lying on the ground behind an East Adams Street apartment around 1:20 a.m., his face covered in blood.

Ten Fingers’ death, three days before his 28th birthday, was the first killing in Rapid City this year.

Witnesses told detectives that Ten Fingers had been in a fight with Dowty, a friend whom Ten Fingers visited the previous night, according to a police statement obtained from the Pennington County Courthouse.

Dowty, who was arrested later that day, reportedly admitted getting into a fistfight with the victim and then leaving the area. He is detained at the county jail in lieu of a $400,000 bond.

After entering Dowty’s not guilty plea Friday morning, defense attorney Shiloh MacNally asked the court to reduce Dowty’s bond to somewhere around $10,000.

She said Dowty has a limited criminal history, is a contributing member of society and his manslaughter charge does not involve malicious intent.

“He does not appear to have issues with substance abuse,” MacNally told 7th Circuit Judge Matt Brown. Dowty lives with his father in Rapid City and is a single dad to a 3-year-old boy.

Brown chose to keep the high bond amount in place following the prosecution’s objections.

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County Deputy State’s Attorney Heather Sazama said Dowty was a flight risk and has an “extensive, violent juvenile history.”

He faced a federal charge of assault with a dangerous weapon, had been incarcerated and violated probation about four times, Sazama said.

As an adult, she said, Dowty had been arrested for assault several times. The incidents included an alleged attack on his father, whom Dowty supposedly hit on the head with a beer bottle. He fled to a Native American reservation, which Sazama said shows he posed a risk of fleeing.

Dowty is scheduled to return to court on March 30.

Rapid City saw seven homicide cases in 2017, a recent high following two in 2016.

Contact Tiffany Tan at

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Cops and courts reporter for the Rapid City Journal