Police chief accused of killing for life insurance

by Will Ashworth11 Jan 2016
Former South Dakota police chief Russell Bertram is alleged to have shot his 26-year-old pregnant fiancée while hunting in 2009. At the time Bertram claimed his shotgun accidentally went off while the couple were out hunting together but this past September authorities indicted the former law enforcement officer for killing Leonila Stickney, his fiancée at the time of the shooting.

Why did he do it?

Bertram filed for bankruptcy in 2008.

In early 2009 the former chief bought two life insurance policies on his fiancée’s life with a total payout of $900,000. He was the beneficiary on both.

Sadly, with Leonila Stickney’s death originally labelled an accidental death, Bertram was free to enjoy the $900,000 payout and marry Stickney’s sister.

It doesn’t end there.

One of Bertram’s ex-wives will testify in the upcoming trial that he was allegedly violent towards her and the other will chime in about previous insurance frauds perpetrated by the former police officer.

In addition, the prosecution will introduced evidence that suggests Bertram was anything but faithful routinely hiring prostitutes behind his fiancée’s back.

In the end though his history in law enforcement along with his bankruptcy only months before taking out the two life policies on his fiancée look to be the incriminating evidence that will put him on the wrong side of the bars.

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