A Sioux Falls man is facing two first degree murder charges following the death of his mother and a 7-year-old child. Authorities say the two were found dead inside the suspect's trailer home early Sunday afternoon.
If convicted of 1st Degree Murder 24-year-old Heath Otto could receive life in prison without parole or even the death penalty.
The Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office says Otto was arrested after he set off a panic alarm at the trailer home where he lived on the 6200 block of North Cliff Avenue. They say Otto was outside when an officer arrived just before 1 p.m.
Minnehaha Co. Sheriff Mike Milstead said, "The individual made some comments that, to the officer, were concerning so the officer immediately detained the individual until he could get additional units on the scene."
The sheriff's office says they found his mother, 48-year-old Carol Simon and a 7-year-old boy dead inside.
"The two were obviously deceased and there's was evidence of possible strangulation and knife wounds," said Minnehaha Co. Sheriff's Capt. Jason Gearman.
In court Monday, Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said Otto strangled the two unconscious and grabbed a steak knife to cut their throats to 'finish the job'.
"Through the investigation, law enforcement was able to establish probable cause of premeditation," said McGowan.
While McGowan was reading details of the case to the judge, family members and friends inside the courtroom broke down sobbing.
McGowan said, "These crime scenes can be very emotionally draining and difficult especially when you have a child involved."
Authorities wouldn't comment on the relationship between Otto and the child. Otto did apply for a court appointed attorney. who waived bond argument at the hearing today. His bond was set at $5 million cash.
Five million dollars is one of the highest bond amounts we've seen issued in South Dakota. The last time a bond was set that high was for a Rapid City man charged with first and second degree murder in a case involving the death of an infant last year.