Francis Lange, a man charged in connection with a triple murder in Scotland, South Dakota, made an appearance at the Bon Homme County courthouse on Tuesday for a change of plea hearing. During the hearing, Lange pleaded guilty but mentally ill to three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault.
By entering this plea, the 43-year-old Lange acknowledged his guilt in the killing of his former girlfriend, Angela Monclova, as well as Librado Monclova and Diane Akins on November 9, 2021, in Scotland.
According to court documents, a 5-year-old child and Vicki Monclova were also injured in the incident and were airlifted to Sioux Falls due to life-threatening injuries.
During the hearing, Lange’s defense presented a document signed by him, stating that he fired approximately 12 shots after entering the residence during an argument over a missing gun.
Authorities apprehended Lange without incident approximately an hour after receiving the call at another location in Scotland. A probable cause affidavit revealed that officers found a handgun near the shooting scene, and a subsequent search warrant led them to discover a handgun box matching the serial number of the firearm found.
Lange faced an indictment in November 2021, charging him with three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree attempted murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and two counts of committing a felony while armed with a firearm. He was arrested and held on a $2 million bond, according to court documents.
South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley explained that a guilty but mentally ill plea is essentially the same as a guilty plea. However, this type of plea allows for further evaluation and treatment.
Lange will face up to three mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole, in addition to thirty years for the aggravated assault charges, according to Jackley. The state had previously filed a notice of intent to not seek the death penalty in February.