South Dakota GOPer accused of fatal hit and run claims victim wanted to die: report
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R-SD) (Photo: Facebook)

There is a fascinating new development in the legal case over the GOP attorney general who is accused of fatally hitting a pedestrian with his car.

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg initially claimed he hit a deer, but later claimed he discovered the dead man's body.

Ravnsborg latest defense is that the man wanted to die.

"In court documents filed Friday, the state's top lawman claimed victim Joe Boever was depressed and suicidal and may have thrown himself in front of his car as he drove home from a Republican function on Sept. 12," The Daily Beast reported Saturday. "Ravnsborg's lawyer, Timothy J. Rensch, is seeking a court order that would force health-care providers to release Boever's psychiatric or psychological records 'for exculpatory information concerning his suicidal ideation.'"

The filing quotes a cousin of the victim, Barnabas Nemec, saying that Boever was depressed and had talked about suicide by car.

"I believe with a very high degree of confidence Joe committed suicide by throwing himself into the path of a speeding car," Nemec said, as quoted in the filing.

"Nemec's brothers Nick and Victor dispute that. They told The Daily Beast that while Boever had suffered low periods before, he did not seem depressed at the time of his death. Victor Nemec gave Boever a ride after Boever's pickup drove off Highway 14 a few hours before the fatal crash, and said he showed no sign of drinking," The Beast reported.

Nick Nemec doesn't think his cousin is in a position to make such a judgement.

"Barnabas lives in suburban Detroit, Michigan," Nick said. "I don't know how he would have been able to observe anything to make any judgment call."

"Joe was on the shoulder of the road," Nick Nemec said. "So, that I would think would indicate he wasn't out trying to jump in front of the car."

Moments before Ravnsborg killed Boever he was reportedly reading conspiracy theories about Joe Biden on his phone while driving at night.