Michael Campbell was seventeen years old when he murdered a sixteen year old girl he had met for the first time. According to court documents Michael Campbell and Shayna Ritthaler met on an online dating website and soon after started to date online. The two made plans for Shayna Ritthaler to run away and live with him.
Finally the two met and Michael Campbell would pick her up and a short time later Shayna Ritthaler was dead shot in the head. No one is quite sure why the murder happened. Michael Campbell hid the body but he would be soon arrested. The teen killer would plead guilty to first degree manslaughter and is expected to receive a fifty five year sentence later this year.
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Michael Campbell News
A South Dakota teen has admitted to killing a 16-year-old girl who ran away from home to be with him after they met online.
On Thursday, Michael Campbell, 17, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the killing of 16-year-old Shayna Ritthaler, according to the Argus Leader, KNBN and KOTA.
Ritthaler was reported missing from a Moorcroft, Wyoming, coffee shop last October.
Weeks earlier, she had met Michael Campbell on the dating website Badoo. The pair eventually planned for Campbell to drive to Wyoming to pick Ritthaler up so she could “run away and live with him in his house,” prosecutors said in court on Thursday, the Leader reports.
On Oct. 3, Michael Campbell picked Ritthaler up from Wyoming in his Jeep and drove her back to his Sturgis, South Dakota, home. During their time together, an argument ensued that ended when Campbell shot Ritthaler once in the head.
Through their investigation, police located Campbell’s Jeep and made contact with the teen on Oct. 6.
The following day, investigators found Ritthaler’s body in Campbell’s basement.
Shortly after his arrest, a judge sealed court documents detailing the crime citing the case’s “sensitive nature.”
Campbell was initially charged with second-degree murder, which was dismissed as part of the plea that recommends 55 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced in July.
Michael Campbell Other News
A 17-year-old has entered pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity in the death of 16-year-old Shayna Ritthaler.
Michael Gavin Campbell was in court Thursday for his arraignment hearing. Campbell has been indicted on alternate charges of first-degree and second-degree murder in the death of Ritthaler.
Ritthaler, from Upton, Wyo., was the subject of a missing person’s case. Her body was found Oct. 7 in Campbell’s home near Sturgis after deputies and agents from the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation searched the house at the request of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, who was working with authorities in Wyoming.
Campbell, if convicted, can face prison time, but cannot be sentenced to life in prison because he is juvenile. Campbell’s attorney said he plans to file a motion to have the case moved to juvenile court.
Prosecutors allege Campbell shot and killed Ritthaler in his home earlier this month after an alleged argument between the two.
A judge set December 20 for Campbell’s status hearing and set that date as the deadline to turn in any documents related to the case.
Campbell is being held on a $1 million bond.
Michael Campbell More News
An argument between Michael G. Campbell and Shayna Ritthaler,
a Wyoming 16-year-old who went missing Oct. 3, led to him allegedly shooting her, prosecutors said in court Wednesday.
Dressed in a green prison uniform and bound in shackles, Campbell made his
initial court appearance before Fourth Circuit Judge Kevin Krull Wednesday morning. The state is charging Campbell with murder in the second degree. Campbell, who is 17 years old, is being charged as an adult and not a juvenile in this case, so the proceedings remain open.
If convicted, he could face life in prison.
Acting Meade County State’s Attorney Michele Bordewyk asked that Campbell be held with no bond because the nature of the allegations against Campbell show he is a danger to the community.
“The defendant was with the victim. There was an argument. It got violent which led to him shooting her,” Bordewyk said.
Krull granted a motion by Bordewyk to seal the probable cause affidavit in the case. That means details of how the two knew each other and what happened leading up to the crime will not be known for now.
Bordewyk said following the hearing that the main reasons she asked for sealing the affidavit were because of the age of the victim and the abundant media coverage of Ritthaler’s disappearance before she was
The body of a young female was discovered in a basement bedroom of a home in the Blucksberg Estates subdivision south of Sturgis near Interstate 90 Monday night.
The body is believed to be that of Ritthaler, Sgt. Caleb Deyo of the Meade County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday. An autopsy was set for Thursday morning.
Bordewyk said they believe the shooting happened at the home where Campbell lives with his parents.
“I feel like we will know a lot more after the autopsy is done,” she said.
Although the defense asked that bail be set at $250,000, Krull set bail at $1 million. Conditions of bail also included that Campbell wear an electronic monitoring device and not travel outside the Fourth District Court jurisdiction.
Campbell’s attorney, Steven Titus, argued that his client had no criminal history, was working on getting his GED and was employed full-time at a hotel in Deadwood.
Campbell, who has shoulder-length sandy hair and a stocky build, spoke only when questioned by Krull answering “Yes, your honor, or No, your honor.”
Shayna Ritthaler was a student at Moorcroft High School. Counselors were on hand Monday when students were notified of her death.
There were eight family members of Ritthaler on hand at the hearing
Wednesday and five of Campbell’s family members.
Campbell will be arraigned on charges Oct. 17. He remains in custody at the Western South Dakota Juvenile Services Center in Rapid City.