State v. Dunkelberger, 2018 SD 22. Defendant was indicted of first-degree robbery of a casino after being implicated by his accomplice, who testified against Defendant. During the direct examination at trial of the detective in the case, the State moved to introduce surveillance video, which Defendant objected to for lack of foundation. The video showed Defendant getting out of his accomplice’s vehicle and his appearance inside a Beresford gas station the night before the robbery. Defendant argued that without the video there was insufficient evidence to corroborate the accomplice’s testimony. The trial court overruled Defendant’s objection and admitted the video, which was shown to the jury.
The Supreme Court of South Dakota affirmed the trial court’s decision. Defendant admitted that he was the individual depicted in the surveillance video, which was enough to support a finding that “the item is what the proponent claims it is.” However, the Supreme Court of South Dakota also held that the State had introduced sufficient evidence to corroborate the accomplice’s testimony and establish Defendant’s guilt even without the video evidence. Defendant had admitted that he rode with the accomplice the night before the robbery in clothing similar to that worn by the robber and that he was having financial problems, which was consistent with the accomplice’s testimony and suggested a motive to commit the robbery. Physical evidence and a casino employee’s testimony further corroborated the accomplice’s testimony. Thus, there was evidence independent of the surveillance video that affirmed the accomplice’s testimony and established Defendant’s guilt, and the trial court’s denial of Defendant’s objection to the admission of the video was affirmed.