Court Documents: State Prison Inmate Admits to Attempting to Kill Staff Member

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A 25-year-old state penitentiary inmate was booked on first degree attempted murder charges Thursday morning, after admitting to trying to kill a staff member at the prison.

Kevin Tripp is charged with one count of attempted first degree murder and one count of aggravated assault. Both charges carry a sentence of up to 25 years each in the state penitentiary and/or $50,000 fine.

Court documents say on October 23rd, Tripp attacked a female staff member after a class at the prison learning center. Records say he grabbed the teacher’s arm, placed his arm around her neck and threw her to the ground.

The woman was able to pepper spray Tripp and get away.

Tripp admitted in an interview with DCI investigators that he heard voices telling him to attack and kill the teacher. He also admitted to the investigator he did not care if she died.

Tripp also admitted to having anger issues and told investigators he was being harassed by other inmates and the stress and anger from that caused him to lash out.

Court documents say he told investigators that accepts his decision and takes full responsibility for his actions.

“These are the most difficult people who we have in the state of South Dakota.  But, these situations are rare.  I truly believe there’s a reason why he waited until the class was done and the other inmates had left, because I truly believe the other inmates would have intervened and held the other inmate so that he couldn’t harm the instructor.  I truly believe that,” says South Dakota Department of Corrections Cabinet Secretary Denny Kaemingk.

Prison officials say the female teacher who was attacked is okay and is back to work.

Tripp was originally serving time in the penitentiary for a charge of sexual contact with a child under 16.

He was scheduled to be released on his suspended sentence in December of this year.

He pled not guilty to the charges in court, his bond has been set at $75,000 cash.