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Argument between two teenagers said to have led to fatal shooting

STURGIS, SD – The appearance and demeanor of the 17-year-old standing in the Meade County Court room was in sharp contrast to the crime he is accused of – the violent taking of a life.  Appearing in court this week, charged with second degree murder, Michael Gavin Campbell of Sturgis responded to the judges question as to whether he understood the charges against him. “Yes, your honor.” In a quiet voice.

At this point, there are more questions than answers in the disappearance and murder of 16-year-old Shayna Ritthaler of Upton, WY, who went missing Oct. 3 from Moorcroft, WY where she attended school and whose body was found in a basement bedroom in a house in Blucksberg Estates east of Sturgis on Oct. 7, where Campbell lived with his parents.

The complaint filed in the case said the homicide occurred “on or between Oct. 4 and Oct. 7.” Campbell is being charged as an adult.

During the initial court appearance, defense attorneys Steven Titus of Gillette and George Grassby of Rapid City, citing Campbell’s lack of a prior criminal record and his employment at a Deadwood casino, asked for bond to be set at $250,000.  Acting Meade County State’s Attorney Michelle Bordewyk asked for Campbell to be held with no bond, stating in court “the nature of the offense shows the defendant was with the victim and an argument led to him shooting her.”

Newly-appointed 4th Circuit Judge Kevin Krull ordered Campbell be held in lieu of $1 million dollars cash or surety bond.  If Campbell is released on bond, he was ordered to have no contact with the victim’s family.

Titus says he will ask for the case to be returned to juvenile court and that his client will plead not guilty at his arraignment hearing Thursday, October 17.

An autopsy on Shayna Ritthaler is being conducted today.


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