Man serving prison term for Walworth County killing to be paroled

MOBRIDGE, S.D. (AP) — A man who served more than two decades in prison for raping and killing an 18-year-old South Dakota woman in 1980 will soon be free.

The South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles on April 17 approved the release of Nicholas Scherr, 54, once a parole plan is ready in the upcoming weeks.

Scherr pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Candace Rough Surface, the mother of a 2-year-old boy, in Walworth County.

Her son, Homer Rough Surface, is now 41. He told the Aberdeen American News that he was unaware his mother’s killer had been granted parole.

“Nobody contacted me about it, not even the court or anything,” Rough Surface said. He believes he should have been given some kind of warning.

He said he was a teenager when he attended a previous parole hearing for Scherr, but that it felt at the time as if his mother’s killer would never have a chance of being paroled.

He said coping with his loss and having to see Scherr in court were some of the most difficult things he’s ever had to face.

“Growing up without parents, no sibling, that was like one of the worst things in the world, not having anyone to turn to,” Rough Surface said.

Scherr was 15 when he and his 16-year-old cousin, James Stroh, met Rough Surface in Mobridge. The case was solved in 1995 when Stroh’s former mother-in-law told authorities about how Stroh and Scherr raped and killed the woman.

Stroh pleaded guilty to lesser charges after cooperating with investigators. He was released in 2004.