Ex-Police Chief Sentenced To Life In Prison Without Parole

An ex-police chief has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 2009 murder of his fiance.

According to Attorney General Marty Jackley, on Sept. 29, Russell Ray Bertram, 64, of Sioux Falls was found guilty of murdering 26-year-old Leonila Stickney. The conviction carries a mandatory life sentence.

Prosecutors say that a $900,000 life insurance pay out was a motive for the murder.

Stickney was pregnant at the time of the October 2009 murder. She was also the sister of Bertram’s ex-wife, Meliza Del Balle. The couple was married in the Philippines following Stickney’s murder. The couple has since filed for divorce.