Jury declares Dismounts Thrice “not guilty” in hammer bludgeoning

Allac 'AJ' Dismounts Thrice
Allac 'AJ' Dismounts Thrice(Gray)
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 5:13 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - After a week-long trial, a Penington County jury deliberated for less than two hours before declaring a Rapid City man not guilty in the bludgeoning death of another man and the assault on two women in 2020.

Allac ‘A.J.’ Dismounts Thrice was charged with the first-degree murder of Richard Montanez and two counts of first-degree attempted murder of Jessalyn Cook and Cody Good Soldier with a hammer in September 2020.

Tuesday the court heard closing arguments from both sides after the defense rested without calling any witnesses. The defense did ask for a motion of acquittal that was denied by the court.

The prosecution started their closing argument by saying that three of the witnesses there originally ran from the crime scene, one of them returning later to be with two children who were in the house at the time of the attack. They went on to say that one of the kids who testified said that he heard and saw Dismounts Thrice attacking one of the victims. The child also pointed out that Dismounts Thrice was wearing a hat, sweats, and a backpack, which Dismounts Thrice confirmed he was wearing when he was taken into custody later in the day. At the time of the attack, the child was taken in for questioning and drew a picture of the weapon that was used on the victims.

State went on to point out that one of the first officers on the scene that was questioned in court, called the scene of the crime “nothing short of a scene from a horror movie.” They said there was blood everywhere near the victims, going from the walls all the way up to the ceiling.

The witness that returned to the scene to be with the children, called cops and medical to the scene, which the prosecution says possibly saved the lives of both Cook and Good Soldier. The prosecution then brought up Dismounts Thrice’s interview with investigators the day of the attack where Dismounts Thrice said ‘I don’t want to say the wrong thing,’ and then went on to admit being at the residence the day of the attack.

The prosecution ended by telling the jury to “not buy the defense’s argument, and instead of thinking about what they don’t have in regards to evidence, to instead think about what they do have, and that will show that Dismounts Thrice had the intent to kill all 3 people.”

The defense’s closing argument started by telling the jury to discount the three testimonies of the people that were there at the time of the attack, as well as the testimony of the child that was at the scene. They went on to say that the one witness that returned to the residence ‘couldn’t leave because the child would bring her name up.’ They went on to say that the other two witnesses who ran from the scene could have been just as likely to be the assailant, like Dismounts Thrice.

Defense also stated that the stories from the adults who were at the scene didn’t match up in any way, leading them to believe that all three witnesses were lying to protect someone. They went on to say that the one witness that returned to the scene only gave officers Dismounts Thrice’s name, with the defense claiming that they did that to give the other two time to get away.

They then brought up the blood all over the walls and ceiling, saying that if there was enough blood to reach the ceiling, then why wouldn’t the attacker have also been covered in blood? The defense finished by saying that Dismounts Thrice is no more guilty than the two who fled the scene and that Dismounts Thrice was the odd man out and not a part of the friend group of the witnesses at the scene, so they pinned the attack on him.