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Black Cloud will not face same punishment for murder as adults
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Black Cloud will not face same punishment for murder as adults

Ronald Black Cloud

Ronald Black Cloud 

Ronald Black Cloud was found guilty by a jury of second-degree murder on Wednesday, but the 17-year-old will be sentenced under a set of state rules that prohibit minors from being sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole. 

Black Cloud was 14 when he shot and killed Nathan Graham, 43, in Rapid City.  

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A sentencing date for Black Cloud has not yet been set. 

According to Pennington County State's Attorney Mark Vargo, Black Cloud cannot be given a life sentence without parole due to a series of U.S. Supreme Court rulings that indicated how minors charged as adults can be sentenced. South Dakota state law has changed to align with these rulings. 

"It can't be effectively a life sentence," Vargo said, noting that he has not studied related cases to know legally what kind of sentence Black Cloud could face.

"I'm sure there's going to be argument," he added.

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