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Monday October 23, 2000

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Inmates said to party at gov. house

By The Associated Press

PIERRE, S.D. - Two female prisoners and two men face criminal charges after allegedly throwing a party at the governor's mansion while the governor and his staff were away.

Gov. Bill Janklow said Friday that the two prisoners regularly helped prepare meals at the mansion as part of a work-release program and that the women had invited the men in while the governor was out Sept. 30.

He said the men were in the mansion for about 25 minutes and gave methamphetamine to one of the prisoners. The two men fled after a security officer surprised them during a routine check, Janklow said.

"The girls have been caught. The guys have been caught. They're going to be prosecuted," he said. He said the four would probably be charged with second-degree burglary.

Janklow aide Bob Mercer said the governor was infuriated. The governor had approved their unsupervised work on Sept. 30 while their supervisor made funeral arrangements for a family member.

"He's angry because it happened at his house and because they're around each other and he thought he could trust them," Mercer said.

The state's work-release programs will be unaffected, Janklow said.