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01-04-2005, 03:48 PM
Man from '93 homicide case found dead
By Vicky Wicks, Journal Staff Writer

RAPID CITY -- Pennington County Sheriff's Lt. Kurt Weber still remembers being dispatched to the scene of a shooting on Jan. 15, 1993. Then a sergeant, Weber was told that the shooting suspect had called law enforcement himself, but Weber didn't know what he would find at the home near Hisega.

Weber said when he and other deputies arrived, they looked for cover near the house, but there wasn't much to choose from. Some deputies ducked behind narrow tree trunks, but Weber was forced to use a propane tank as a shield. "It was a rough call," he said.

Deputies knew there were a victim and suspect inside the house, but what they didn't know was that after shooting his live-in girlfriend in the chest and calling 911, the suspect had fired a .22-caliber pistol into his own mouth. When deputies called out to the suspect to persuade him to surrender, he responded, but they couldn't understand what he was saying.

Eventually, the suspect came out of the house. "Needless to say, he was in pretty poor condition," said Weber, who testified at a 1993 preliminary hearing that the man's eyes were nearly swollen shut and that he was bleeding from the mouth and nose. "She's dead. I shot her," the suspect told Weber at the time.

Deputies immediately put the suspect into an ambulance, Weber said, and the logistics of prosecution followed later, after the suspect had healed.

Robert L. Slee, 44 at the time of the shooting, later pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the shooting death of Sylvia Rose Plumb, his 36-year-old fiancee.

After getting out of prison, Slee returned to Boise, Idaho, his hometown, and in November was himself the subject of a homicide investigation.

On Nov. 9, Slee, 56, was found dead in the crawlspace of his home, according to Lynn Hightower, spokeswoman for the Boise Police Department. She said Slee apparently fell into the crawlspace, was injured, and couldn't get out. The weather was cold at the time, she said.

A law enforcement investigation proved that there was no foul play, and on Thursday, the Ada County, Idaho, coroner released information that Slee died accidentally.

Slee's criminal case in Pennington County stands out in memory on two counts: that he survived shooting himself in the mouth, and that his sentence was controversial.

After the case was bound over for further prosecution at a hearing March 5, 1993, Slee entered into an agreement with Pennington County prosecutors and pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter. That allowed him to avoid conviction of second-degree murder and its mandatory sentence of life in the penitentiary without possibility of parole.

At Slee's sentencing hearing July 16, 1993, testimony was so emotional that 7th Circuit Judge Merton Tice Jr. considered putting off a decision until later in the day.

The victim's mother, Emma Shaw, made a statement to the court and wept while speaking. "I don't doubt that Bob is truly sorry, but I'm going to have to pay for his crime for the rest of my life," she told Tice. "She was my baby."

At the hearing, an audiotape of the 911 call Slee made after the shooting was played, and Slee put his face in his hands and sobbed as he heard his taped voice saying, "Please help me. I'm on Rimrock Highway. I just shot my wife."

In a statement to Tice, Slee said, "We had a loving relationship, but there was a third partner. That was alcohol. Maybe I can help someone avoid doing what I have done."

Deputy Pennington County State's Attorney Mark Vargo asked Tice to impose a sentence of 15 years, citing Slee's remorse as the reason he didn't ask for a life sentence.

Tice, deciding not to delay sentencing, said, "I've got to bite the bullet and make a decision." He then sentenced Slee to serve 10 years in prison but suspended six years. He also ordered Slee to complete 1,000 hours of community service and attend Alcoholics Anonymous three times a week after leaving prison.

"Maybe others will understand the consequences of alcohol and benefit from your experience," Tice told Slee.

After the hearing, Shaw said, "I'm not satisfied with the sentence, but at least Judge Tice gave him some time behind bars. ... I'm OK with that. I'm not God. I have no right to judge."

One year later, in July 1994, Slee went before Tice to ask for a reduction in sentence, and Tice suspended the remaining three years, allowing Slee to go free.

Jay Miller, deputy Pennington County state's attorney, argued unsuccessfully to keep Slee in prison. After Tice suspended the remainder of Slee's sentence, Miller said, "We felt a person lost their life and that 11 to 12 months was not enough time to serve for causing the death of another person."

On Nov. 9 this year, Slee's body was discovered in the crawlspace of his house after he failed to show up for work, Hightower said. He was found on a Tuesday and was last seen the Saturday before, she said.

Shaw, who lives in Hot Springs, was notified of Slee's death by Fall River County Sheriff Jeff Tarrell. She did not care to comment, Tarrell said, but she appreciated receiving the information and had no harsh words for Slee.

The Ada County coroner said Slee died of hypothermia as a complication of blunt force trauma to his head due to a fall. Contributing to the cause of death was an enlarged heart, scarring of the heart, and acute pneumonia. Also, Slee was intoxicated on dextromethorphan, an ingredient found in over-the-counter cold medicines.

"It's a strange ending, isn't it?" Weber said.

Contact Vicky Wicks at 394-8318 or at [email protected]

01-04-2005, 03:49 PM
maybe this should be moved to news.... but i cant post it there. :sly:

Infected Method
01-04-2005, 04:05 PM

01-04-2005, 08:46 PM
Originally posted by Infected 420@Jan 4 2005, 01:05 PM
halfway through the article i was wondering where dxm would come in.

ironic huh?

01-04-2005, 08:55 PM
can you post the link to the article for me
I want to show some of my friends who don't use the forums

Infected Method
01-04-2005, 11:10 PM
All this relating to DXM, wondering when the part about DXM would come in, I was thinking that perhaps the alcohol part was just a coverup and that before he died, he admited he was on DXM when he killed his gf..

Thats what I THOUGHT was gonna happen while I was reading the article. o_o

01-05-2005, 10:18 AM
I will say, that was a rather unsatisfactory ending :(

We will never know if DXM caused the cardiovascular symptoms.

01-05-2005, 04:47 PM
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2...cal/news002.txt (http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2005/01/01/news/local/news002.txt)