Ceplecha Murder Trial to be moved out of County

By Tim Huether

The murder trial of Daniel and Rangler Ceplecha will not happen in Bennett County, following a Dec. 11, filing for a Motion for Change of Venue by Daniel Ceplecha. The Motion was granted by Judge Rank and will be moved to an undetermined location.

The trial date was set for Feb. of 2018, but with the need to find a new location, that could change.

Since Daniel and Rangler Ceplecha will be tried jointly, this applies to both defendants.

The council for Dan Ceplecha argued that based on a questionnaire sent out, approx. 70 percent of the prospective jurors will be excluded for cause based on their bias in the case; their firm opinion that the defendants are guilty; their personal familiarity with the defendants, the victim, the case or its participants; or based on other concerns.

They also argued the effect of pretrial media coverage and social media discussions and gossip have been pervasive. 

The state concluded that based on a selective review of some of the answers on the questionnaire that 43 percent of the prospective jurors are biased about the defendants or the state to such an extent that they are unlikely to be able to serve, suggesting it may be impossible to select a jury in Bennett County.

Both Daniel Ceplecha, and Rangler Ceplecha, of Martin, are charged with first degree murder, second degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder. The maximum penalty for the charges is the death penalty or life in prison.

The charges are based on a crime occurring on the morning of Nov. 12, where Moses Red Bear was found dead.

The state argued on June 7, a motion for Joinder, allowing them to try Daniel and Rangler together and that was granted.

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