A man who pleaded guilty nearly three years ago to murdering a Rapid City woman still has no sentencing date in sight.
David Schneider, 27, remains incarcerated at the Pennington County Jail after pleading guilty in January 2017 to the first-degree murder of Jessica Rehfeld.
He appeared for an extremely brief status hearing Tuesday at the state court in Rapid City where Judge Heidi Linngren scheduled him for another such hearing at 2 p.m. on Dec. 17.
Lara Roetzel, deputy state's attorney, and Gregory Erlandson, Schneider's defense lawyer, both said they couldn't explain what's causing the sentencing delay due to a gag order in the Rehfeld case.
Schneider was originally charged with kidnapping and murder. But as part of his plea deal he only pleaded guilty to the murder charge while prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty. His only other possible punishment is life in prison without parole.
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During the change-of-plea hearing, Judge Heidi Linngren asked Schneider to swear that the 13-page statement he submitted was correct rather than tell her and the courtroom what he did. Linngren said that she normally could have sentenced Schneider immediately but had to wait under the terms of his plea deal. And prosecutors said they reserved the right to seek the death penalty if Schneider does not comply with the agreement.
Linngren sealed Schneider's statement and plea agreement, saying they are part of an ongoing investigation.
Officials have accused Schneider and Richard Hirth of killing Rehfeld, a 22-year-old from Rapid City, on May 18, 2015, after being hired by Jonathan Klinetobe, Rehfeld's ex-boyfriend. Klinetobe admitted in September to having a role in Rehfeld's stabbing death when he pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting first-degree manslaughter. He's scheduled for sentencing Dec. 2-6.
Randy Connelly, one of Hirth's defense lawyers, told the Journal that a mental health expert found his client to be incompetent and prosecutors are now having another expert examine Hirth. Hirth is scheduled for a status hearing at 4 p.m. on Oct. 29 but the case can't proceed until a judge determines whether Hirth is competent, Connelly said.
Garland Brown and Michael Frye both pleaded guilty in 2016 to being an accessory to murder after being accused of helping Klinetobe move Rehfeld’s body two weeks after she was killed. Brown has been released from prison after receiving a four-year sentence in 2016, according to the Department of Corrections, while Frye has not yet been sentenced.