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State reaches plea deal with South Dakota woman in attempted murder, arson case

Dawn Long, center, steps out of the elevator on her way to the courtroom as the Davison County Public Safety building on Thursday afternoon in Mitchell. Matt Gade / Forum News Service1 / 2
The former residence of Dawn Long is boarded up from a house fire sustained back in October 2015. Matt Gade / Forum News Service2 / 2

MITCHELL, S.D. — A former Mitchell woman originally accused of trying to kill her ex-husband and setting her house on fire pleaded no contest to aggravated assault Thursday afternoon, Feb. 21.

As part of her plea agreement with the state, 40-year-old Dawn Long’s previous charges of attempted first-degree murder and reckless burning were dismissed.

During the hearing, the state indicated it will argue for a 15-year prison sentence with seven years suspended, and the court agreed it would accept that recommendation as the maximum possible sentence, though Long can argue for a lesser sentence.

By pleading no contest, Long is not admitting guilt for a crime but is allowing the court to determine her punishment.

The state’s rationale for the new charge alleges that Long attempted to cause serious bodily injury to Todd Long by putting a large amount of caffeine into a rum bottle with the belief that he would drink out of it. The state’s new charge also asserts that Long conducted internet searches on how to kill someone.

The court ordered a presentence investigation, and sentencing for the aggravated assault charge is scheduled for April 30.

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