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Maxton Pfeiffer

Pfeiffer

The defense lawyer for a Rapid City man accused of fatally shooting his friend at a Keystone apartment in June has promised to take the case to trial, not settle for a plea deal. 

There's "no way" the case isn't going to trial, Dana Hanna told the Journal after a Friday status hearing for 18-year-old Maxton Pfeiffer.

Pfeiffer is charged with first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of his 19-year-old friend Ty Scott.

The specific kind of manslaughter he's charged with, according to state law, is when someone doesn't mean to kill someone but does so with a dangerous weapon. The offense carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Hanna said both he and the prosecution agree that Pfeiffer killed Scott, but that it was an accident. 

He called the shooting a "tragic accident" that is not a crime. To prove the shooting was manslaughter, Hanna said, the prosecution will have to prove that Pfieffer acted recklessly. 

Pfeiffer, who has been out of jail after he posted a $10,000 cash bond, appeared at state court in Rapid City on Friday, looking anxious with his hands clasped and his face toward the ground. Many family members and supporters of Scott sat in the audience. 

Hanna told Judge Jeffrey Connolly that the prosecution is currently having the gun used in the killing tested, and has agreed to let him send it to another expert once they are done. He said the two exams should be completed in two months, but that he was not sure when all the evidence will be ready for trial. 

Connolly set another status hearing for Feb. 22 at 9:30 a.m. 

Investigators said that Pfeiffer, Scott and four others, were “carelessly” passing around a handgun in the apartment when Pfeiffer picked up another handgun and pointed it in the direction of his companions, according to police reports. A bullet from the .45-caliber semiautomatic struck Scott in the chest area and he died at the scene.

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— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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