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Courts

A man must spend 25 years in prison and pay $27,615 in restitution for fatally shooting another man during a drug sale in 2017 near Sharps Corner on the Pine Ridge Reservation. 

Jamie Shoulders was sentenced Tuesday at the federal court in Rapid City after pleading guilty to second-degree murder for shooting Christopher Janis, a 42-year-old Vermillion man and Marine veteran with a wife and two children, according to court records. Shoulders could have been sentenced to up to life in prison.

Judge Jeffrey Viken said Shoulders must pay the restitution to Janis' wife and spend five years on supervised release after prison. 

Shoulders went with Scott Benson and Clarence Yellow Hawk to buy pills from Janis on May 27, 2017, according to a factual basis document he signed. Benson parked the car they were driving in a driveway about 2 miles north of Sharps Corner.

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Shoulders received a handgun from Yellow Hawk, walked to the driver's door of the minivan and shot Janis through the glass at least twice, the document says. Yellow Hawk then took the gun and shot Janis several more times.

Janis was selling some of his prescription hydrocodone painkillers to make extra money so he could take his wife to Deadwood for her birthday, prosecutors said when Benson was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to being an accessory to the crime.

Yellow Hawk, who a jury found guilty of first-degree murder and other crimes, does not yet have a sentencing date. 

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

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