Man sentenced to 60 years for killing former Rapid City teacher

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 4:06 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - He earlier pleaded guilty to killing a former Rapid City teacher back in 2017, and now, 31-year old Andrew Eastman is heading to the state penitentiary.

Originally charged with murder, Eastman pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter for the killing of 64-year old Larry Mintzlaff after reaching a plea deal. Judge Jeff Davis sentenced Eastman to 60 years in South Dakota State Penitentiary Thursday, with time served credited.

Eastman was a work-release prisoner when he walked away from his job at the Rapid City Landfill, stole a truck, went to Mintzlaff’s house and beat him to death with a baseball bat.

Chief deputy state’s attorney Lara Roetzel described Eastman as “a cold-blooded killer who went there with a premeditated plan” to kill Mintzlaff.

Eastman’s attorney told the court about Eastman’s troubled upbringing and read a statement from Eastman where he said he had been drinking and went to Mitzlaff’s house to get a ride and said he doesn’t remember how the killing happened.

A psychologist testified that Eastman said sexual abuse had happened to Eastman.

In the end, Judge Davis said the system may have failed Eastman in the past, but said he failed himself this time.

The family of Mintzlaff said they were satisfied with the sentence.

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