STURGIS — An argument between Michael G. Campbell and Shayna Ritthaler,
a Wyoming 16-year-old who went missing Oct. 3, led to him allegedly shooting her, prosecutors said in court Wednesday.
Dressed in a green prison uniform and bound in shackles, Campbell made his
initial court appearance before Fourth Circuit Judge Kevin Krull Wednesday morning. The state is charging Campbell with murder in the second degree. Campbell, who is 17 years old, is being charged as an adult and not a juvenile in this case, so the proceedings remain open.
If convicted, he could face life in prison.
Acting Meade County State’s Attorney Michele Bordewyk asked that Campbell be held with no bond because the nature of the allegations against Campbell show he is a danger to the community.
“The defendant was with the victim. There was an argument. It got violent which led to him shooting her,” Bordewyk said.
Krull granted a motion by Bordewyk to seal the probable cause affidavit in the case. That means details of how the two knew each other and what happened leading up to the crime will not be known for now.
Bordewyk said following the hearing that the main reasons she asked for sealing the affidavit were because of the age of the victim and the abundant media coverage of Ritthaler’s disappearance before she was
The body of a young female was discovered in a basement bedroom of a home in the Blucksberg Estates subdivision south of Sturgis near Interstate 90 Monday night.
The body is believed to be that of Ritthaler, Sgt. Caleb Deyo of the Meade County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday. An autopsy was set for Thursday morning.
Bordewyk said they believe the shooting happened at the home where Campbell lives with his parents.
“I feel like we will know a lot more after the autopsy is done,” she said.
Although the defense asked that bail be set at $250,000, Krull set bail at $1 million. Conditions of bail also included that Campbell wear an electronic monitoring device and not travel outside the Fourth District Court jurisdiction.
Campbell’s attorney, Steven Titus, argued that his client had no criminal history, was working on getting his GED and was employed full-time at a hotel in Deadwood.
Campbell, who has shoulder-length sandy hair and a stocky build, spoke only when questioned by Krull answering “Yes, your honor, or No, your honor.”
Shayna Ritthaler was a student at Moorcroft High School. Counselors were on hand Monday when students were notified of her death.
There were eight family members of Ritthaler on hand at the hearing
Wednesday and five of Campbell’s family members.
Campbell will be arraigned on charges Oct. 17. He remains in custody at the Western South Dakota Juvenile Services Center in Rapid City.