A Pringle man has been found guilty of raping, kidnapping and committing other crimes against his ex-girlfriend in 2017 in Custer County.
During a five-day trial in late January and early February, a Custer County jury found Harry David Evans, 61, guilty of first-degree kidnapping, second-degree rape, first-degree burglary, aggravated assault, stalking and violating a protection order. Evans stalked his victim from July 27, 2017, until Sept. 6, 2017, when he committed the other crimes, according to his indictment.
Evans could be sentenced up to life in prison for the kidnapping charge, 50 years for rape, 25 years for burglary, 15 years for the assault and two years each for the stalking and protection-order violation. Court records show that prosecutors dropped a habitual offender charge that alleged Evans was convicted of felony stalking in Wyoming in 2009. If he was found to have been convicted of that crime, he could have faced harsher sentences for his new convictions.
Investigators believe Evans entered the victim’s house with a gun and knife through an unlocked window after cutting open the screen, Tracy Kelley, Custer County state’s attorney, previously told the Journal. They also believe Evans forced the woman, who was in her 50s, to take Ambien, a sedative, when she tried to resist Evans.
Evans then duct-taped the conscious victim, wrapped her in a blanket, drove her away in a car, raped her and brought her back home, Kelley previously said.
The day after the rape and kidnap, Evans was arrested at the Prairie Winds Casino on the Pine Ridge Reservation, where police searched his hotel room and his car after moving it onto state property, according to a motion by Ellery Grey, his private defense attorney. Police found Ambien, a knife, duct tape, .22-caliber rounds and other items in his car.
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Grey argued in the motion that this evidence shouldn't be used during trial since it "was the fruit of the poisonous tree." He argued South Dakota law enforcement had no jurisdiction when it entered the reservation. But the judge rejected this argument and allowed the evidence to be used, Kelley told the Journal.
Evans had a long history of threatening and abusing women he used to have relationships with, according to information and testimony in court records that were used during trial.
In late 2016, Evans trapped his victim in her basement for an "extended period of time" and threatened to rape and harm her, according to a motion signed by Kelley. On Jan. 1, 2017, he threatened to kill her and himself. A month later, he carried his victim into her room where he held her against her will, threatened to rape her and again threatened murder-suicide.
In 1993, Evans broke into his ex-wife's home, held a gun over her and threatened to rape her, according to the motion. Evans was convicted of attempted aggravated assault in Fall River County for that incident. The next year, Evans violated a protection order against his ex-wife by breaking into her car and leaving a deer head and bullet inside. He then broke into her home and was found sleeping in her bed with a loaded rifle.
Evans is scheduled for sentencing at 9:30 a.m. on March 21.