Jury Acquits Rapid City Man In Fatal Shooting

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A Rapid City man is free after prosecutors dropped a murder charge against him and a jury acquitted him of gun crimes in connection with a fatal shooting in Pine Ridge last year.

Phillip Pond, 39, was accused of shooting Justin Little Hawk during an argument in November 2020. Little Hawk died that December in a hospital.

Pond turned himself in in February and was indicted on second-degree murder. The Rapid City Journal reported Tuesday that prosecutors filed a new indictment in May charging Pond with illegally possessing a gun but dropped the homicide count.

Pond represented himself at trial. Proceedings lasted two days before the jury acquitted him May 27. Pond had argued that a number of people who told police he killed Little Hawk were lying.