- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2020

CANTON, S.D. (AP) - A 19-year-old man could face the death penalty if convicted in the killing of a 20-year-old woman who authorities say was abducted from a Sioux Falls Walmart parking lot, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Amir Hasan Beaudion Jr. was arraigned Tuesday on 15 counts, including first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, rape and robbery, in the Jan. 5 abduction of Pasqalina Badi of Sioux Falls. Badi’s body was found the next day along a gravel road in Lincoln County, and a preliminary autopsy determined she had been strangled.

A judge entered a not guilty plea on Beaudion’s behalf, and bond was continued at $1 million cash only.

Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman said the case may be eligible for the death penalty if there were aggravating factors in Badi’s death, but he told The Associated Press he has not decided yet whether to pursue the death penalty.

“It’s a capital case, and we believe it potentially meets the requirements,” Wollman said at Tuesday’s meeting of the Lincoln County commissioners, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported. “That’s about all I can say right now. Based upon the charges, and if you look at the statutory scheme for the death penalty, we believe some of those aggravated circumstances may be present in this case.”

A phone message left for Beaudion’s public defender in the murder case, David Stuart, was not immediately returned Tuesday. Beaudion’s next court appearance is set for Feb. 18.

Beaudion was arrested on Jan. 7 on charges related to a separate attempted New Year’s Day kidnapping from a Hy-Vee parking lot, and had been considered the primary suspect in Badi’s death. Wollman wouldn’t comment on whether Beaudion and Badi knew each other.

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