Former mayor, sheriff’s deputy charged in Centerville triple homicide

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A former Centerville mayor and one-time Turner County sheriff’s deputy reportedly shot and killed three men Monday night upon learning that one of the men allegedly sexually assaulted his wife. 

Jay Edward Ostrem, 64, is currently in custody at the Minnehaha County Jail on a $1 million cash-only bond as he awaits an initial appearance in court. 

Attorney General Marty Jackley, through a press release, confirmed that Ostrem is charged with three counts of first-degree murder. Each count carries a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. 

“There is no further threat to the public,” Jackley wrote in the press release.

Ostrem served as a Turner County sheriff’s deputy through the early 2000s after a two-decade career in law enforcement in Wyoming. He was among the deputies involved in investigating the death of Dep. Chad Mechels, who was shot and killed by Ethan Johns in March of 2009. Johns is serving a life sentence for that crime.

In 2010, while serving as mayor of Centerville, Ostrem was sued for sexual harassment in federal court by former Police Chief Rachel Kopman, who claimed she’d been subjected to unwelcome sexual comments for more than a year before her dismissal as chief. The suit was settled in 2012.

Ostrem’s law enforcement certification expired in 2016, Jackley spokesman Tony Mangan told South Dakota Searchlight.

A complaint filed against Ostrem on Tuesday in Turner County names the three victims. South Dakota Searchlight is withholding their names, because the Attorney General’s office says next of kin have yet to be notified. One of the men was the alleged perpetrator of the sexual assault. Another was a relative of that man, who called police to report the shooting before being shot himself. 

According to a probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday in Turner County, Ostrem’s wife told police that the fatal events of Tuesday evening came after her disclosure to him that one of the victims had sexually assaulted her by rubbing his erect penis against her at the couple’s Centerville home Thursday evening, as Ostrem slept. 

The man lived across the street from Ostrem. 

Upon learning of the incident, the affidavit said, Ostrem “got up and went raging out of the house.” His wife stayed inside until police arrived, which happened shortly after Ostrem was found walking near his home with an “AR-style rifle” and a .380 pistol.

A South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks conservation officer was the first to encounter Ostrem after the shooting, the affidavit said, and the officer noted “an odor of consumed alcohol” from Ostrem. The one-time deputy complied with the officer’s commands to stop walking, and he told the officer he had a pistol in his pocket. 

The date for Ostrem’s initial appearance on the Turner County charges has yet to be set, according to the Turner County Clerk of Court.


The post Former mayor, sheriff’s deputy charged in Centerville triple homicide appeared first on South Dakota Searchlight.