Not guilty plea entered to failing to report death


RAPID CITY (AP) – A man accused of failing to report a strangulation death in Pine Ridge last month has pleaded not guilty to federal charges.

Benjamin Smoke entered the plea recently to misprision of a felony, or failing to report a felony. A conviction on the charge could send Smoke to prison for up to three years.

Dale Ecoffey Jr.'s son found his father dead last March in the passenger seat of his vehicle outside his Pine Ridge home. The Rapid City Journal says an autopsy showed Ecoffey had been strangled. Prosecutors say Smoke helped Ecoffey to his vehicle after he was injured and later when he checked on him, realized he had no pulse.

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