Recent Rapid City homicides reach high level of violence

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA-TV) - Rapid City has seen five homicides within four months, With all of them extremely violent.

Courtesy: MGN Online
Courtesy: MGN Online

This week in court Berton Toavs admitted to shooting his former girlfriend nine times before reloading and shooting again.

In January, a Loaf n Jug store clerk was stabbed almost 40 times when police say two teenagers were stealing beer.

And this month, Desiree Martinez was stabbed more than 40 times in her home.

"In the forensic psychology world we call that overkill. You don't need to stab somebody that many times,” said psychologist Dr. Steve Manlove.

Rapid City investigators have alluded to the use of drugs or alcohol in each case. One drug is most commonly mentioned.

"Violence by a meth amphetamine user is about 35 percent,” said Manlove.

That's compared to a 2 percent possibility of violence by the general public.

"The more meth people take they feel less good and start feeling really irritable,” said Manlove. “It is when they move into that phase that they are much more likely to hurt somebody or even themselves."

Dr. Manlove says the recent Rapid City homicides don't sound like hate crimes.

"I think it is important to recognize that the most common violence it to someone you know well, it is fairly uncommon for people to be violent to someone you don't know well,” said Manlove.

Dr. Manlove says this type of violence often comes and goes, and it doesn't necessarily mean there is a trend.