PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) Hughes County’s States Attorney says she is pleased with the sentence given yesterday by a judge to a Blunt woman who pled guilty to First Degree Manslaughter. 49-year-old Connie Hirsch was sentenced to 35 years in prison with credit for two years she has been jailed since the May 2010 shooting of her husband-65-year-old Jerold Hirsch. Judge Mark Barnett said during Hirsch’s court hearing Thursday that she could be paroled after she serves half of the 33 years that remain. States Attorney Kelly Marnette said after the sentencing that she appreciates the assistance of law enforcement and South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Jason Jares; for the hard work they have put into the case.
Judge Barnett spoke about the case for about thirty minutes before declaring Hirsch’s punishment. Based on a lengthy report about the Hirsch’s, their marriage and the shooting, Barnett said that although some people said Jerold Hirsch had been verbally abusive and controlling; Connie Hirsch did not have the right to shoot him. Barnett said all the physical evidence in the case suggested that the elder Hirsch was sleeping when Connie Hirsch put a pistol a short distance away from the back of his head and shot him. She told investigators that he threatened her while she worked at a rural Pierre home–and she used a handgun to shoot him when he made a sudden move toward her. Barnett said the case is a tragedy in that an otherwise law abiding woman took the law into her own hands. The judge also stated that Hirsch told conflicting stories to several people and that she has been less than honest to family and investigators. Barnett said though Jerold Hirsch had many shortcomings; it did not justify the shooting.
Marnette had recommended that Hirsch receive a sentence of 20 years in prison. Hirsch’s lawyer, Brad Schreiber requested 12 years. He characterized the Hirsch’s six year marriage as one that was not a model relationship. Schreiber said that if the judge subtracted those six years, plus two that Hirsch has already been jailed from the 20 Marnette recommended—that would result in a 12 year sentence for his client.
A hearing will be held at another time to determine the total amount of restitution owed in the case.
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