RAPID CITY (AP) – A man who opened fire on a Pine Ridge house, killing one of its many occupants, has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Ricky Bagola earlier pleaded guilty to second-degree in the January 2020 death of 30-year-old Casey Long Weston who was killed after the defendant blindly fired seven rounds into the house in a dispute over methamphetamine.
Two of the rounds hit Weston, who was one of seven people in the house. Court documents make no mention of Weston being involved in the drug dispute.
Federal prosecutors say Bagola drove over to the house after his girlfriend accused someone in the residence of not providing enough methamphetamine for the money she paid. Bagola knocked on the doors and windows of the home, then fired seven rounds into the house.
During sentencing in federal court Tuesday, Judge Jeffrey Viken noted the “multigenerational expression of grief” from Weston’s relatives who spoke about his dedication to Lakota spiritual traditions and their sadness for his four children who will grow up without a father, according to the Rapid City Journal.
Defense lawyer Alecia Fuller asked for a 15-year sentence for the 34-year-old defendant who she said feels “incredibly remorseful” for his actions after he initially tried to evade responsibility.
Prosecutor Megan Poppen asked for a 25-year sentence, telling the judge Bagola doesn’t provide for his children because he’s been busy providing drugs to the Pine Ridge Reservation.