Rangler Ceplecha and his father, Daniel Ceplecha, appeared in Circuit Court Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the Bennett County Courthouse, both facing murder charges.
Daniel (Dan) Ceplecha, 56, appeared before Judge Leo Disburg and was informed he was charged with First Degree Murder with an alternative count of Second Degree Murder. The maximum penalty for First Degree Murder is death or life in prison. Daniel was asked if he had an attorney or needed to request a court appointed attorney if he qualified. He requested a court appointed attorney and was assigned John Murphy of Rapid City.
Rangler Ceplecha was informed by Judge Disburg he was charged with First Degree Murder, an alternative count of Murder in the Second Degree, and Conspiracy to Commit Murder. He also requested a court appointed attorney and was assigned Bradley Borge of Rapid City.
Murphy requested a reasonable bond be set for Dan Ceplecha, citing he had no funds to flee, no visa and other reasons.
Bennett County States Attorney Ken Orrock argued Dan is a flight risk and posed a danger to the community. Orrock said Dan was taken into custody armed with a handgun. He said he also has serious concerns for Dan’s safety with threats called in against him and Rangler and said that could pose a public safety issue and a safety to law enforcement issue.
Judge Disburg agreed with Orrock and said no bond would be allowed. He said the same would go for Rangler Ceplecha.
Orrock said he planned to have a Grand Jury meet on this prior to Dec. 6 and requested a Dec. 6 Preliminary Hearing take place, which was agreed to.
The charges stem from a homicide in Martin that was reported Saturday morning, Nov. 12. The victim’s name has not officially been released as of press time. Any updates will be posted on the Booster’s website, bennettcountyboostersd.com.
The following release was issued Saturday by Martin City Police Chief Tom Jeans.
In the early morning hours of November 12, 2016, the Martin Police Department received reports of a homicide that had occurred at a residence in the City of Martin. The Martin Police Department responded to the residence and secured that location pending the issuance of a search warrant. During the investigation, investigators determined that the body had been removed from the residence and was possibly being taken to an undisclosed location for disposal.
Later in the morning, the Batesland and Martin Fire Departments were dispatched to a grass fire in rural western Bennett County. While extinguishing the fire, the body of a male subject was discovered along the side of a roadway.
At this time, investigators are working multiple crime scenes and the investigation is ongoing. Multiple arrests have been made. Law enforcement would like to stress that there is no danger to the general public and that all known suspects have been identified and are in custody.
The investigation is being conducted by the Martin Police Department, Investigators of the Bennett County State’s Attorney’s Office, the South Dakota Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the South Dakota State Fire Marshal’s Office.