Small Town's Ex-Mayor Charged With 3 Murders

Former law officer Jay Ostrem charged with first-degree murder in Centerville, SD killings
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 28, 2024 5:49 PM CDT
Small Town's Ex-Mayor Charged With 3 Murders
   (Getty Images/ANGHI)

Three people were shot to death in a small South Dakota town, and a former law officer who once served as the town's mayor is charged in the killings. Jay Ostrem, 64, was jailed on $1 million cash-only bond on three counts of first-degree murder, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said Tuesday. Ostrem worked in law enforcement for more than two decades in Wyoming and South Dakota, media reports said. He served as mayor of Centerville about a decade-and-a-half ago, but the exact dates weren't immediately available, the AP reports.

A probable cause document said a man in Centerville called police at 9:44pm Monday to report that his brother had been shot by "a guy from across the street" and that the shooter had gone back home. The caller was still on the phone with a dispatcher when he said that he had been shot, too. He then stopped talking, the document said. Ostrem was arrested a short time later. An AR-style rifle was on the ground near him, and he had a handgun in his pocket, the document stated. Officers then went to the home where the call originated and found all three victims.

Ostrem's wife told police that a neighbor named Paul had sexually assaulted her on Thursday, and she told Ostrem about the assault Monday night, the document stated. She said Ostrem "got up and went raging out of the house," according to the document. The victims were identified in the document as Paul Frankus, 26; Zach Frankus, 21; and Timothy Richmond, 35, the Argus Leader reports. Centerville, around 40 miles south of Sioux Falls, had a population of 918 in the 2020 census. (More South Dakota stories.)

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