(Gowatertown.net - Watertown, SD) New charges have been filed against a Watertown murder suspect that makes him eligible for the death penalty--if he's convicted.
Forty one year-old Jeremiah Martin Peacemaker is accused of killing 28 year-old Kendra Owen at her Watertown residence last year. Police were called to conduct a welfare check on Owen after friends and family had not seen or heard from her.
They found her deceased, with numerous signs of trauma on her body.
Police quickly identified a suspect, and the day after Owen's body was found, they arrested Peacemaker in Watertown.
Peacemaker was originally charged with Second Degree Murder. However, a Grand Jury was convened, and handed down a superseding indictment charging him with First Degree Murder that upon conviction, leaves only the death penalty or life in prison as sentencing options.
He pleaded not guilty during a court appearance today (Wednesday).
Police have said they believe Owen had been dead for several days before her body was discovered. They described the suspect and victim as, "recent acquaintances."
A charging document indicates Owen's death is believed to have occurred between the dates of August 24th and September 2nd, 2020--the latter of which is the day her body was discovered.
Witnesses who testified at the Grand Jury hearing included Watertown Police Detective Sergeant Chad Stahl, Watertown police officer Cody Trumm, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation Agents Cam Corey and Jeff Bellon, and Dr. Kenneth Snell, a pathologist with Sanford Health in Sioux Falls.
Peacemaker's jury trial is scheduled for October 18th.
He's being held in the Codington County Detention Center on one million dollars cash bail.