A judge has ordered a man serving 10 years for manslaughter to pay more than $400,000 to the family of the man he admitted killing.
Northwest District Judge Benjamen Johnson issued a default judgment against Kyle Siler, 33, who pleaded guilty in February 2015 to manslaughter in the death of Dean Niederklopfer. Siler and Niederklopfer got into a fight in August 2014 in front of Whispers, then a strip club, in downtown Williston.
Witnesses reported seeing Siler hit Niederklopfer, and that Niederklopfer fell to the ground and appeared to be unconscious. When officers arrived on scene, they found Niederklopfer on the ground and unresponsive. Niederklopfer was transported to Trinity Hospital, where he was declared brain dead.
Siler was arrested days later in Belle Fourche, South Dakota. He was originally charged with aggravated assault, and in October 2014 was charged with murder.
In May 2015, Siler was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He is scheduled to be released in May 2021, according to the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Dean Niederklopfer’s father, Lon Niederklopfer, filed suit against Siler; Whispers, where Siler had previously worked as a bouncer; Knife River Construction; and the city of Williston.
Williston settled with the family in January 2017 for $15,000, according to court records.
Knife River and Whispers settled with the family for a confidential sum, according to their attorney, Mark Larson. The suit against them was dismissed in November, according to court records.
Larson filed a motion for a default judgment against Siler in November, claiming that despite being served with the lawsuit and taking part in a deposition, Siler had not responded.
In a ruling issued Jan. 9, Johnson found Siler responsible for Dean Niederklopfer’s death and ordered him to pay $411,281.74, plus interest, to Lon Niederklopfer.
That figure includes $300,000 for pain and suffering, $35,463.12 in medical bills and 6 percent interest from Aug. 4, 2014 — the date Dean Niederklopfer was attacked — through Jan. 4, when the court held a hearing on whether to issue a default judgment against Siler.
Larson said Dean Niederklopfer’s family was hoping the end of the suit would allow them to move on.
“That’s the tough part about it,” Larson said. “It can’t bring that young man back.”