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Light sentence for 'Wild Bill'

FLANDREAU, S.D. - Former Governor, Attorney General and Congressman William Janklow was sentenced to 100 days in jail.

He was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter, reckless driving, speeding and running a stop sign that resulted in the death of Randy Scott, 55, of Hardwick, Minn.

Janklow, 64, was the "tough on sentencing" governor and attorney general. He told the state legislature in 1999 that he wanted longer and stiffer sentences for repeat traffic offenders. He admitted to speeding, in fact at times bragged about it. He also received 12 speeding citations during an interim between two sessions as governor. Janklow resigned as congressman on Jan. 20.

Janklow will spend 30 of the 100 days in jail, then 70 days on work release in which he must perform public service and a three-year probation period in which he is not allowed to drive. Janklow was also fined $5,400 and will reimburse the county $50 per day during his incarceration.

At the end of the three-year period the suspended imposition sentence will close the books on the felony charge, but the other three lesser convictions, speeding, running a stop sign and reckless driving will remain on his record.

Steele said that Janklow was truly remorseful and that he suffered from humiliation that could not be felt by an average citizen. Janklow is ordered to report to the Minnehaha County Jail in Sioux Falls on Feb 7.

"I can't be punished more than I punish myself," Janklow said from the stand on Jan. 22 during his sentencing hearing.

From the stand Janklow said that during his time as governor he drove fast, "really fast." He justified that because of the location of the state capital, which is in the center of a very expansive state where he had to meet obligations and emergencies.

He said he couldn't imagine how he would feel if it were one of his children, that he may not be as forgiving. "If I could change places with him - and it's easy for me to say that - I would," he said.

Randy Scott, 55, father and popular resident of Hardwick, Minn. was killed when his motorcycle collided with the Cadillac driven by Janklow ran a stop sign traveling in excess of 70 miles an hour in a 55 mph zone.

Prosecutor Roger Ellyson said he was satisfied with the sentence, but also said he would not have been as forgiving as the eight witnesses that testified for Janklow at the hearing.

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Ellyson said Janklow was not forthcoming with the truth about the accident and his traffic record, and tried to use diabetes and a phantom white vehicle as defense.

Janklow said he manufactured nothing at the trial and reputed the diabetes statement made by Ellyson.

"I fully understand that I killed someone. I wish I could change it." Janklow said.

Ellyson said Janklow's driving behavior resulted in a predictable outcome and that was the death of Randy Scott. Janklow, according to trial testimony, nearly wiped out a family at the same intersection in December 2002 when he sped through it.

Janklow had a reputation of performing hard-nosed in-your-face kind of politics across the state. He served eight years as attorney general and two eight-year stints as governor. Under his watch race relations in Indian country faltered, yet he maintained that he was not racist and some people attested to that fact at the sentencing hearing.

Ed Evans, Janklow's attorney called witness after witness who said under the rough exterior and harsh behavior there was a teddy bear, willing to help others in need.

Janklow played Santa Claus and distributed Christmas turkeys to people on the Rosebud Reservation, said Larry Wright a Rosebud member.

Random calls to the American Indian community found that many people were not willing to comment. Some needed more time to think it over.

Alvera Wright, Rosebud, said, "this justifies the fact that there is a double standard in South Dakota. The sentence was not strong enough."

At a recent gathering at the State Capitol many American Indians said they were no longer interested in the issue and were focused on legislation that would affect them at the state level. Most said they felt more empowered with a new governor than they had in the past, under Janklow.

Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said Janklow will eat in a common area with other prisoners and be protected with the same security as other prisoners. Milstead said Janklow may be in the same 400 bed jail that is occupied by some people he had prosecuted or that were incarcerated while he was governor.