November 22, 2017
PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty J. Jackley announces that the First-Degree Murder conviction of John Eric Hemminger and mandatory life sentence has been affirmed by the South Dakota Supreme Court.
“Domestic violence resulted in the tragic death of Jessica Goebel. John Hemminger will now serve out his life sentence for brutally stabbing Jessica twenty-three times. Our thoughts remain with Jessica’s family,” said Attorney General Jackley.
In January 2015, Jessica Goebel died after being stabbed twenty-three times. A jury found her ex-boyfriend John Eric Hemminger guilty of First-Degree Murder and he was accordingly sentenced to mandatory life in prison.
The South Dakota Supreme Court unanimously affirmed both the conviction and the sentence. The Court held that law enforcement’s seizure of Defendant’s cell phone, clothing and DNA was lawful. The Court further determined that it was appropriate for the State to introduce twenty-six autopsy photographs of the victim over Hemminger’s objection. The Court found the photographs were material to assist the forensic pathologist in his testimony on the cause of death and the manner in which the injuries were inflicted. The Court further determined that the photographs “illustrated the kind and degree of force inflicted to cause” Goebel’s injuries and ultimate death