- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A 21-year-old man who planned a drug robbery that left a former business partner dead pleaded guilty Wednesday to manslaughter and agreed to testify against his co-defendants.

Kevin James Rice accepted the plea deal in exchange for prosecutors dropping nearly two dozen other charges against him, the Argus Leader reported (https://argusne.ws/1kw5FWw ).

Rice could receive up to life in prison for his role in the robbery plot against 20-year-old dealer Jordan LeBeau. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Authorities say LeBeau was killed Dec. 2 by two Watertown teens who broke into the marijuana dealer’s home to steal what they thought would be $100,000 in drug money.

Rice testified Wednesday that he showed Brian David Anderson and Trevor Kruthoff, 18 and 17 respectively at the time, where LeBeau lived and gave them the loaded handgun used in the robbery plot.

“I relayed the crucial information about the money and the house,” Rice said.

LeBeau was shot after his father came home and saw his son being attacked. The father also was shot before the teens left.

Police found more than $88,000, marijuana and prescription pain pills in the basement of the LeBeau home. Jordan LeBeau lived in the basement and his father lived upstairs.

Rice had been a friend and business partner of LeBeau’s in a Dell Rapids auto restoration shop, which authorities say served as cover for drug sales that both men were involved in. Their relationship soured as LeBeau began dating Faith Rasmussen, who is accused of being the prime supplier of marijuana for both men.

Rasmussen is awaiting trial in a federal drug conspiracy case.

Rice is the first of five defendants in the state’s case to plead guilty to robbery-related charges. Lawyers for Anderson and Kruthoff asked Judge Brad Zell before Rice entered his plea Wednesday to reset their pretrial hearings.

Rice’s roommate, Doug Scholten, and Austin Hogan, a Hartford man accused of passing along LeBeau’s address to Rice, also await trial.


Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com

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