Frazier sentenced to life, again

David Melmer
6/27/01

STURGIS, S.D. - Dawn Frazier heard a jury find her guilty of first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping and a few days later heard a judge order her committed to life in prison on both counts - for the second time in less than two years.

Frazier was convicted of participating in the death of Morningstar Shalimar Standing Bear June 16, 1999. Two other people, Robert Horse and Chaske White, also are serving life terms.

Frazier won a second trial because the state Supreme Court overturned the first verdicts because a taped interview with investigators was allowed to be used by the prosecution during the first trial.

Her second attempt was directed more toward a battered women's syndrome effect that was not emphasized as strongly in the first trial. Witnesses, who included friends and family, said Frazier began a decline in her behavior the day she met Chaske White. Frazier's defense centered on the fact she alleged she was afraid of what White would do to her if she didn't go along with what he wanted. White confessed to the killing. White told the jury that Frazier had nothing to do with the actual murder, that she remained in the car while White and Horse stabbed and kicked Standing Bear.

Prosecutor Bob Mayer produced letters from White to Frazier that said he loved her. There were a lot of inconsistencies in White's prior statements and testimony, but White said he lied in the beginning to investigators to take some of the pressure off himself.

The state continued its argument that Frazier, Horse and White took Standing Bear from a Rapid City bar and drove on a gravel road into Meade County where they stopped and then beat her to death.

Frazier told the second jury she didn't know they intended to kill Standing Bear. "I didn't think they were going to do that. I though they were just going to rape her," Frazier said.

Bruce Hubbard, Frazier's attorney, told the jury she drove the car because she was afraid of White. She claimed to have been beaten by White before and actually had to go to the hospital with the injuries. Police took her statement, which she later recanted. White was never charged.

Mervin Frazier, Dawn's father said they will appeal the decision.

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