- Associated Press - Thursday, December 17, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Minnehaha County’s coroner says he can’t determine if a woman found dead in her Sioux Falls home 26 years ago was murdered, but Kenneth Snell says he can rule out suicide.

The Argus Leader reports (https://argusne.ws/1O8FYc9 ) Snell testified during a Wednesday hearing as to why he classifies the November 1989 death of 21-year-old Kimberly Eidsness as “undetermined.” He said his decision was largely driven by a gun expert’s report suggesting that the firearm had been “manually manipulated” after the first round went off.

“In my opinion, you would not be able to do that with this brain injury,” Snell said. He added that it would have been hard for Eidsness to commit suicide given the trajectory of the bullet and the way investigators assumed the gun was held.

Former Coroner Brad Randall, who conducted the autopsy in 1989, ruled Eidsness’ death a suicide. He reviewed the same evidence given to Snell, and said he would reconsider his position, but to what, he doesn’t know.

Fifty-seven-year-old Florida resident Kim Aune was indicted last April on first-degree murder charges in South Dakota in the death of Eidsness, who was his girlfriend.

Authorities haven’t said what new details led them to reopen the case. Aune’s lawyer has asked a judge to dismiss it.

Aune is to stand trial in South Dakota beginning Jan. 10. Defense lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the indictment on Nov. 3.

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

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