A South Dakota former police chief charged with the first-degree murder of his fiancée—reportedly pregnant at the time—in 2009 has been discovered to have taken out several life insurance policies for her of which he was was the sole beneficiary. Raising suspicions further was the fact that he would go on to marry his fiancée's sister.
According to the AP, a trial for 64-year-old Russell Bertram in the death of his 26-year-old fiancée Leonila Stickney will begin in February. Bertram, a police chief from 1996 to 2004, was indicted in September for "intentionally shooting" Stickney during an October 2009 hunting trip, though her death had been previously thought of as accidental. Bertram had told authorities he accidentally shot Stickney when he was putting away his gun in a car. But authorities looked further into Bertram's story, former police sheriff Charlie Wolf told AP, because of Bertram's behavior after the fact and "story inconsistencies" as Jezebel writes.
The AP reports prosecutors will show that Bertram not only declared bankruptcy in 2008 but also took out two life insurance policies for Stickney shortly before her death with one of them worth $750,000 and the other having a $150,000 accidental death benefit.
Bertram could face a life sentence or the death penalty if found guilty.