May 16, 2024

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.–Eleven inmates at the South Dakota State Penitentiary have entered their pleas in connection with a prison disturbance that occurred in March.

All eleven inmates pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a combined 18 felony charges.

The charges include aggravated assault, simple assault, damage to prison property, and starting fires within the prison.

The inmates also face habitual offender charges that could mean an increase in their current sentences if they are found guilty.

All eleven are tentatively set to appear in court the week of August 12th.

The 11 inmates and their charges are:

Joshua D. Vortherms, 45, two counts of Aggravated Assault Against a Department of Corrections employee; and two counts of Simple Assault Against a Department of Corrections employee.

Lee D. Bernard, 32, one count of Intentional Damage to Property.

Taylor D. Cook, 22, one count of Intentional Damage to Property.

Markos J. Fernandez, 19, one count of Intentional Damage to Property.

John W. Lovejoy, 25, one count of Intentional Damage to Property.

Connor D. Shockey, 20, one count of Intentional Damage to Property.

Chaske M. White, 50, one count of Intentional Damage to Property.

James Ewing, 41, one count of Reckless Burning, and one count of Burning Within a Structure Where a Person is Lawfully Confined.

Curtis Carpenter, 39, one count of Reckless Burning, and one count of Burning Within a Structure Where a Person is Lawfully Confined.

Michael P. Hewitt, 35, one count of Reckless Burning, and one count of Burning Within a Structure Where a Person is Lawfully Confined.

Mahlon Kirkie, 22, one count of Reckless Burning, and one count of Burning Within a Structure Where a Person is Lawfully Confined.