Former Police Chief Found Guilty Of Murder
Russell Ray Bertram convicted of killing fiance in 2009
A jury has found a former South Dakota police chief guilty of first degree murder in the death of his pregnant fiancee in 2009.
Prosecutors had said that Russell Bertram, 64, killed 26-year-old Leonila Stickney in 2009 to collect more than $900,000 insurance money. They also said jealousy was a factor because Bertram had undergone a vasectomy and knew the child couldn’t be his.
A Gregory County jury returned the guilty verdict on Monday.
Bertram was not charged until late last year. The victim’s estranged husband, David Stickney, received a letter after her death from a life insurance company that was processing a claim from Bertram. He then contacted the South Dakota attorney general’s office criminal division, setting in motion an investigation that led to a murder charge last fall.