Rapid City, S.D. (KELO) — A new Major Crimes Unit has formed in Pennington County to investigate and prosecute felonies that take a lot of time and effort in the court system.

The MCU is made up of three experienced attorneys, three legal secretaries, one paralegal, and one investigator.

“The Major Crimes unit will pull out my top three most experienced lawyers and allow them to really devote their time and energy to those class 2 and above felonies. So we’re talking about homicide cases, sexual assault cases, and then we’re going to also pull up really difficult litigious cases like child abuse cases, and vehicular homicide cases,”  Pennington County State’s Attorney Lara Roetzel said.

The three attorneys selected for the Major Crimes Unit are Adam Shiffermiller, Jason Thomas, and Roxanne Hammond.

The need for this new Major Crimes Unit was evident with there currently being 21 open homicide cases in Pennington County.

Each attorney was seeing their class 2 and up felony cases mixed in with over a hundred other class 3 through 6 felonies, and now this will allow each section to better focus on particular levels of felonies.

“I want to make sure that my office is serving those victims to the best of our ability and we just weren’t. That had a lot to do with the totality of the felony cases that we’re faced with prosecuting,” Roetzel said.

The MCU will review cases together as a group and be able to more efficiently take on the heavier and more cases.

The Major Crimes Unit is already getting to work and preparing for its caseload.

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