Triple homicide suspect pleads not guilty to murder charges

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 12:48 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - New details are coming to light on a series of murders that killed three adults.

36-year-old Arnson Absolu of New York pleaded not guilty before Seventh Circuit Judge Robert Gusinsky to all three counts of first-degree murder during a virtual arraignment hearing on Tuesday.

Timothy Rensch, an attorney representing Absolu, requested state attorneys to decide whether they will pursue the death penalty within a 45-day time frame. The judge granted the request, giving the state until March 30th to make a decision.

Gusinsky also signed a no-contact order against the New York man, barring him from speaking to family members of the victims and witnesses associated with the case.

On Aug. 24, 29-year-old Ashley Nagy of Colorado was found dead in a car alongside Rapid City-man Charles Red Willow, 26, following a nighttime shooting at Thomson Park on Meadowlark Drive.

According to a Rapid City Police press release from Sept. 23, preliminary evidence indicated a potential drug connection may be related to the shooting.

Additionally, the body of Dakota Zaiser, a 22-year-old man from Rapid City, was found in a forested area north of Sheridan Lake on Sept. 22. Police determined Absolu to be the primary suspect Zaiser’s death.

Court documents also show that Absolu was previously convicted of two past felonies: a possession of marijuana charge that took place in Carson County, Texas on Sept. 3, 2010; and a second-degree possession of a weapon charge in New York on June 20th, 2012. However, these crimes will not enhance the severity of any potential punishment if he found guilty.

If prosecutors decide not to pursue the death penalty, Absolu could face life in prison and a $50,000 fine for each murder count.

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