Gov. Daugaard grants extradition request on California man charged with murdering mother

March 2, 2018

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has granted the request of Gov. Jerry Brown in California to issue a warrant to extradite Tosten David WalshLommen to face charges of murdering his mother in Palm Springs on Dec. 30.

Such state-to-state extradition warrants are not unusual, but in this case, it appears WalshLommen may take the process through to an extradition hearing slated for April 12 in Rapid City, where he’s been sitting since his dramatic arrest Jan. 1.

Lara Roetzel, chief deputy state’s attorney for Pennington County, told the Capital Journal this week: “He’s fighting extradition.”

According to Sara Rabern, spokeswoman for state Attorney General Marty Jackley, Gov. Brown’s request for an extradition warrant came to Gov. Daugaard on Wednesday and the warrant was issued and on its way to Pennington County.

WalshLommen still has a right to a court hearing before he can be extradited..

WalshLommen was arrested New Year’s Day in Rapid City after a 50-mile chase down Interstate 90 at speeds up to 118 mph and the body of his mother, Michelle Walsh, wrapped in a blanket in the back of the 2013 Honda CRV. In an unusual two-state investigation, Jackley, with Pennington County prosecutors, announced that an autopsy showed she had been killed by homicidal violence, including blunt trauma to her head and signs she had been choked to death.

Police from Palm Springs, California, meanwhile, quickly hit Rapid City where WalshLommen, 30, has been under $2.5 millon bond since Jan.1 on charges of drunk driving, trying to escape police,reckless driving, driving with a suspended license and speeding.

While he has remained in Rapid City, he soon was charged in Palm Springs with murdering his mother, who was 58, in her home there on Dec. 30 or perhaps early Dec. 31.

Sgt. Bill Hutchinson of the Palm Springs police said officers had been called by Michelle Walsh to her home over an altercation with her son the evening of Dec. 30. But when police arrived, she did not have any complaint to file and officers left. She was killed within hours.

Why WalshLommen was driving as fast as he could into South Dakota — Rapid City is about 1,300 miles, 21 hours or more of driving, from Palm Springs — hasn’t been addressed publicly by law authorities in California or South Dakota.

WalshLommen grew up in Santa Cruz, California, llviing most of the time with his mother there, and moving with her when she moved to Palm Springs last year. His father, David Lommen, has lived in Santa Cruz for years and also farms near his home town of Maddock in east-central North Dakota, near Devils Lake.

Palm Springs police have said WalshLommen told them he “freaked out” and killed his mother in her home and tried to clean up the scene using bleach. Those interviews with police would have come from his jail cell in Rapid City, where he’s been since Jan. 1.

He was quite drunk when arrested in Rapid City driving his mother’s Honda, police said

Once Palm Springs officials filed murder charges against WalshLommen a few days after his arrest, Jackley and Pennington County State’s Attorney Mark Vargo dismissed their lesser charges against him to facilitate his extradition.

But WalshLommen did not — as most defendants do — waive his right to an extradition hearing. And he hasn’t shown any sign that he will, now, once a governor’s warrant is issued, decide to agree to be returned to California, Roetzel said this week.

He appeared Feb. 20 in state circuit court in Rapid City on the extradition matter and an extradition hearing was scheduled for April 12, Roetzel said.

(Roetzel said he spells his last name “WalshLommen,” combining, apparently, the last names of his mother and father into one word.)

“He’s fighting extradition,” she said. “We do a lot of extraditions but not too many proceed to a full (extradition) hearing.”

Largely, that’s because such extraditions are nearly routine.

They don’t require much argument or evidence about the underlying charges in the case. It’s mostly making sure the person being held in one state is the same person wanted by authorities in another state.

WalshLommen gets his day in court on those matters before he can be taken to Palm Springs to face the murder charge which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.