A man who confessed on television to slashing the throat of a 75-year-old Sioux Falls woman and stealing her car just days after his release on parole has returned to South Dakota to face murder charges.
James Vernon McVay, 41, waived his right to an extradition hearing in Dane County court on Tuesday and was transported Wednesday to the South Dakota State Penitentiary.
Later Wednesday, a grand jury heard evidence in the case and returned an indictment on four alternative counts of first-degree burglary and two alternative counts of first-degree murder.
McVay had taken victim Maybelle Schein's car, which he was found driving in the Madison area July 2, the same day of her death.
In an interview with Madison police, according to a criminal complaint, McVay said Schein's death was the first step in a plan to kill his way across the U.S. on his way to Washington, D.C., where he would shoot President Barack Obama.
McVay claimed he planned to kill someone in their home in Madison and steal their vehicle, then ambush a Madison police officer to take their guns, the complaint states.
A first-degree murder conviction carries a maximum penalty of death or a mandatory life sentence. Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said it's too early to say whether McVay's case qualifies for aggravating factors that would allow prosecutors to seek capital punishment.
"There is no urgency in deciding whether or not we will seek the death penalty in this case," McGowan said. "With the gravity of such a decision, it is not one that I take lightly or will rush into."
During television interviews in Wisconsin following Schein's death, McVay admitted to breaking into her home and killing her in her bed.
Two police detectives and Dr. Kenneth Snell, Minnehaha County's coroner, testified before the grand jury. Snell's autopsy shows that Schein's death was caused by "sharp force injuries of neck" and "knife assault" in the bedroom of her home.
The detectives heard the story of Schein's death from McVay. When he was apprehended in Schein's stolen Buick Lucerne near Madison, court documents say he offered a confession and outlined an assassination plot to kill President Obama, without being prompted.
He later told television reporters he planned to "get (Obama) on the golf course."
McVay had been scheduled to appear in court in Madison for an extradition hearing in August, but McGowan got word Tuesday that the suspect wanted to come back to South Dakota.