Lykken trial will begin on March 18

Lykken trial will begin on March 18
Circuit Court Judge Steven Jensen has scheduled the murder trial of David Lykken to begin March 18, 2008.

His action came near the conclusion of a Monday morning hearing in the Union County Courthouse in Elk Point. During the meeting, Jensen, Assistant Attorney General Rod Oswald, who is prosecuting Lykken, and Mike Butler, Lykken's attorney from Sioux Falls, discussed a range of issues concerning evidence, discovery motions, and hearings that will be necessary before the trial begins.

"I don't know what theme I'm going to be taking until I know what evidence is going to be suppressed or admitted," Oswald told Jensen. "I don't want to give the appearance that I'm trying to hide in the weeds."

Butler told the judge that he would prefer a trial date "sometime in the spring.

"We've received the two last boxes of evidence," he said. "There are hundreds of pages of transcripts to go through and numerous CDs and recorded interviews to listen to."

Butler added that the testimony of one witness that may be used by the prosecution came about through hypnosis.

"We're certainly going to oppose that," he said, likely by calling an expert who would refute the reliability of such testimony.

"What we are trying to accomplish, in this case with potentially salacious material … we want to create a framework," Clint Sargent, a second attorney on Lykken's defense team, told Jensen. "We need to know what that framework is so we can narrow it down and not have to file a motion about every statement.

"The state has to tell us what their evidence is," he said.

Oswald noted that the prosecution and defense "probably aren't too far apart" concerning evidence.

"I understand fully there may be other reasons for experts in response to something we do that they weren't expecting," he said.

Lykken, 53, who is in prison on an unrelated conviction, pleaded not guilty last July to six alternate charges: two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of felony murder and two counts of murder. The maximum punishment for all six counts is life in prison.

The new indictment charges that Lykken, who was 16 at the time, killed Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson on or about May 29, 1971, in Union County.

The two 17-year-old Vermillion girls were last seen leaving Vermillion in a 1960 Studebaker Lark for a party at a rural Union County gravel pit.

In 2004, investigators searched Lykken's boyhood home in rural Alcester.

Lykken is currently serving a 227-year prison sentence in the South Dakota State Penitentiary for an unrelated rape and kidnapping. If found guilty of any of the murder charges, he would face a sentence of life in prison.

Jensen scheduled a preliminary motions hearing for October. "There may be other items that may need to be brought before the court regarding discovery," Butler said.

Jensen gave prosecutors until Nov. 1 to determine what they plan to introduce as evidence in the trial.

"We will set the initial motion deadline for the defendant at Dec. 15," the judge said. "If the defense needs more time, they can file a motion."

Motions hearing, which may possibly include testimony from experts, will be held Jan. 17 and 18.

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