Richard Seidel, the longtime owner of Bison Grain, a family business for 60 years in Bison, was sentenced this week to 75 years in prison for kidnapping, raping and assaulting his wife while using a gun two years ago in the small town of 333 in northwest South Dakota.
Perkins County State’s Attorney Shane Penfield, who prosecuted Seidel, said state Circuit Judge Eric Strawn on Tuesday, Nov. 5, imposed a set of consecutive sentences on the the grain dealer.
“This essentially means that Mr. Seidel received a sentence of 75 years in the State Penitentiary for these horrible crimes that were committed,” Penfield said in his news release Wednesday. “The sentence handed down by Judge Strawn is very similar to the sentence requested by the state (prosecution).”
On Nov. 2, 2017, a few weeks after she filed for divorce, Seidel attacked his wife, kidnapping and raping her, strangling her, causing injuries to her neck and face, Penfield said on Thursday.
The victim, now divorced from Seidel and moved away, testified at the trial and attended his sentencing on Tuesday. She had been an officer in Bison Grain.
Penfield praised her for her courage in the case.
Seidel spoke at his sentencing, reading a written statement, mentioning his family, Penfield said.
Seidel’s father and mother began the company in the early 1950s in Bison, about 45 miles southwest of Lemmon.
It has been an unusual case, court officials agree: Seidel and his then-wife and his mother had been principles in the grain company, according to state records. He remains the president according to the latest filing in the state secretary of state’s office.
After his arrest, Seidel posted a $1 million cash bond — something not seen before in the region, court officials said — and the court made certain that the money didn’t come from the grain company. While he was free on bond awaiting trial, Seidel kept working at Bison Grain, Penfield said. Earlier this year, employees of Bison Grain said its operation was ongoing.
Seidel (pronounced SY-dul), initially also was charged with attempted murder but that count was dropped.
A jury convicted him on July 26, 2019, after a four-day trial.
After his conviction, Seidel, who is 57, was held in the Meade County Jail in Sturgis until his sentencing, a county official said. Apparently he was transferred to the state prison in Sioux Falls on Thursday.
Penfield said Judge Strawn gave Seidel three sentences to be served consecutively, or one after the other: 45 years for first-degree kidnapping, for which the maximum sentence is life in prison; 25 years for second-degree rape, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 50 years; and five years for committing a felony while armed with a gun.
Strawn also sentenced Seidel to 15 years for aggravated assault, to be served at the same time as the other sentences.
Under state sentencing guidelines, prison inmates serve a “fraction” of their sentence, set according to previous criminal record and other factors.
Because of the violence of his crimes, state sentencing guidelines would require Seidel to serve at least 50 percent of the effective sentence of 75 years, about 37.5 years, Penfield said.
Seidel also was sentenced to pay $13,501.86 to Perkins County for the cost of prosecution and $6,175.69 to the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program.
“There were many involved in the prosecution of this case and I cannot thank them enough,” Penfield said in a news release on Wednesday. “The Perkins County Sheriff’s Office, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and the Attorney General’s Office have been involved in this case from the beginning and I appreciate all of their efforts. I also want to thank the victim for her courage and testimony. This was not an easy case for anyone involved, but justice has prevailed.”
Seidel was defended by Tim Rensch of Rapid City. A call to his office Thursday was not returned.