Former mayor of South Dakota town accused in triple homicide

CENTERVILLE, S.D. — The former mayor and lawman of a small South Dakota town is accused in a shooting Monday night that claimed the lives of three people, authorities said.

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According to a news release from the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office, Jay Edward Ostrem, 64, of Centerville, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Ostrem was charged in the shooting deaths of Centerville residents Paul Frankus, 26; Zach Frankus, 21; and Timothy Richmond, 35.

Court documents stated that Zach Frankus called the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center at 9:44 p.m. CDT, the newspaper reported. The man reported a shooting and said that his brother had been fatally shot by a man with a shotgun, according to the Argus Leader.

The man told dispatchers that he also had been wounded and eventually stopped talking. He was one of three victims found at the residence at about 10 p.m. CDT.

At the scene, a Game Fish and Parks officer said he saw Ostrem leaving the home and the suspect initially ignored commands to stop. He eventually obeyed and dropped to the ground, telling the officer that he had a weapon in his pocket, according to KELO-TV.

According to court documents, Ostrem was bleeding from his left hand and allegedly smelled of alcohol, the Argus Leader reported. Law enforcement officials said he had a .380 handgun and an AR-style rifle in his possession, as well as spent shotgun shell casings and a spent rifle casing.

“Never in a million years would have ever guessed anything like this would happen,” resident Mark Weets told the newspaper.

According to court documents, the shooting may have stemmed from a May 23 incident in which Ostrem’s wife claimed she was sexually assaulted by Paul Frankus, the Argus Leader reported. The woman told authorities that she and Paul Frankus had been drinking together when he “forcibly kissed her” and exposed his genitals.

Ostrem’s wife reportedly told her husband about the incident on Monday evening, which led to him “raging out of the house,” according to court documents.

Ostrem previously served as a city councilor and as Centerville’s mayor in 2010, KELO reported.

Originally from Gillette, Wyoming, Ostrem was also a Turner County Sheriff’s Office investigator in 2007 and a deputy in 2010, according to the Argus Leader.

Ostrem was booked into the Minnehaha County Jail and is being held on a $1 million cash only bond, according to the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office.

It was unclear whether he had an attorney. Ostrem’s initial appearance in court is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Wednesday, the Argus Leader reported.

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