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SD man violated no-contact order, killed woman by asphyxiation, police say

A Mitchell police vehicle sits outside of a home on the 900 block of East Third Avenue Wednesday morning. Sara Bertsch / Forum News Service

MITCHELL, S.D. — A Mitchell man was arrested Tuesday night, Oct. 17, for allegedly killing a woman by asphyxiation.

Thirty-nine-year-old James Brinker is accused of stuffing a 36-year-old woman’s mouth with a sock, tying a cloth belt around her face, wrapping the woman in a blanket and leaving her on a mattress for a “significant period of time,” leading to her death, according to Mitchell police.

The police said Brinker brought the victim’s children to the crime scene about 7 p.m. and convinced one to call 911 before leaving.

Brinker was located at a different residence and police determined there was a protection order in place prohibiting Brinker from having contact with the victim at the time of her death.

Authorities have not released the victim’s name.

Brinker is charged with first-degree manslaughter, a Class C felony punishable upon conviction by up to life imprisonment and a $50,000 fine. He is also charged with violation of a protection order constituting an assault, a Class 6 felony punishable by up to two years imprisonment; and simple assault, a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment and a $2,000 fine.