RAPID CITY, S.D. — A defense attorney says a man accused of killing his girlfriend at a Rapid City hotel in 2015 didn’t strangle her, but instead administered first aid when he saw her gasping for air.

The Rapid City Journal reports that defense attorney Conor Duffy told a jury Thursday in his opening statement that 61-year-old Brian Duncan tried to clear 60-year-old Helen Wright’s airway.

Wright’s body was found in a room at the Western Thrifty Inn in November 2015. Duncan was arrested in San Marcos, Texas, in June 2016.

Wright’s death certificate says she died from suffocation or “asphyxiation by strangulation” as a result of an assault. Duffy says she died from pneumonia, among her many ailments.

The second-degree murder trial is scheduled to last until Sept. 14.

Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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