South Dakota Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857, January 20, 2008, 07:30:02 PM

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So far it looks like he got a free murder :/
My reason for supporting the death penalty? A murderer has less of a right to live than his victim and already presents a danger while incarcerated for life. They have nothing to lose when the most they can get is Life in prison without parole.


Sounds like a technicality...

The one drug method being challenged - I laughed so hard at JT's comment - I sprayed my morning coffee all over my laptop....

I do so hope that SD signs the limitation of appeals into law and it applies to all convictions and not just new ones. However I doubt it as I am sure some wise guy will appeal the retroactivity if SD tried to make it for all current DR inmates as well. Here is hoping....

Still, the sensibility in governance and justice that SD seems to want to apply... almost has me reaching for the green card application....
All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts
As You Like It William Shakespeare


Piper seeks new trial in SD death penalty case
Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013 4:00 pm

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- An attorney for an Alaska man facing the death penalty in South Dakota asked the state Supreme Court on Monday to throw out his client's conviction and sentence because he didn't understand that he could be sentenced by a judge rather than a jury.

Briley Piper admitted to his role in the March 2000 killing of 19-year-old Chester Allan Poage near Spearfish. His attorney, Steve Miller, said Piper pleaded guilty because he believed if he chose a jury trial, a jury would also have to sentence him. A lower court judge confirmed that misconception, even though Piper had the option of being tried by a jury and sentenced by a judge.

"We're not just talking about a jury waiver here," Miller said. "We're talking about the entire decision as to whether go to trial on the merits or not."

Paul Swedlund, assistant attorney general, said if Piper understood that a hung jury was his ticket to a life sentence, he would have wanted a jury trial to ensure a jury sentencing. But Piper wanted a court sentencing, he said.

"Feigning remorse to a dispassionate sentencing court was the best card that Piper had to play, and pleading to that same sentencing judge was an indispensable part of that sentencing," Swedlund said.

Swedlund said it's not incumbent on the court to correct defense strategies, an argument challenged by Justice Glen Severson.

"That may be true, but here we're looking at the voluntariness of a plea, which is due process," Severson said.

Piper and Elijah Page of Athens, Texas, both pleaded guilty to the slaying in 2001 and were sentenced to death by a judge. Their lawyers later said they believed Piper and Page had a better chance of avoiding the death penalty if the judge sentenced them because a jury would be swayed by the brutal nature of the crime.

Piper appealed, and the state Supreme Court eventually overturned his death sentence by ruling that a jury, not a judge, should decide his fate.

Justice John Konenkamp said the high court recognized the bad advice in that previous ruling and dealt with the issue.

"We remedied what he said was the problem and now he's saying, 'No that's not the real problem. The problem is now I want a trial on everything,'" Konenkamp said.

Miller said Piper should get to enter a new plea, not be shackled to a plea made on bad advice.

Page voluntarily ended his appeals and was put to death in July 2007 in South Dakota's first execution in 60 years. A third suspect, Darrell Hoadley, of Lead, was convicted by a jury that sentenced him to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Poage was a friend of Piper, Page and Hoadley. Authorities say that when Poage's mother and sister flew to Florida for a vacation, the three decided to kidnap Poage and steal things from his mother's home. After knocking Poage out and tying him up, the three decided to kill him, authorities say. He was taken to a gulch west of Spearfish, where he was stripped naked and pushed into a stream, prosecutors said.

Poage was severely beaten and stabbed. Poage's killers later admitted taunting him and trying to drown him by stepping on his neck. They finally ended his life after more than two hours by dropping basketball-sized rocks on his head. Poage's body was found several weeks later in the stream.

The South Dakota Supreme Court is hearing arguments in nine cases this week at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. The high court will issue a written opinion at a later date.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


March 25, 2013, 12:34:46 PM Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 12:36:29 PM by Rick4404
This murder happened in 2000, and 13 years later, the case still isn't out of the South Dakota state courts?  Yes, South Dakota did pass sweeping changes a couple of years ago, which greatly limits for any convicted person the amount of post-conviction relief and the number of habeas appeals that can be filed in the state courts.

South Dakota carried out two executions this past year utilizing the one-drug pentobarbital lethal injection process.  Really, that should put to rest any claims that the process itself which South Dakota's corrections department uses in an execution is cruel and unusual.  Eric Robert and Donald Moeller went to their deaths rather peacefully and without incident.   


I'm sure we had pages and pages and pages on this POS on the forum. 
Genesis 9:6
"Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man. "


S. Dakota high court upholds death penalty for Anchorage man
Associated Press  January 9, 2014

PIERRE, S.D. -- The South Dakota Supreme Court on Thursday upheld an Alaska man's death sentence in the 2000 torture and killing of a Spearfish man who begged for mercy, noting the defendant bragged about the slaying.

The high court also unanimously rejected Briley Piper's request to withdraw his guilty plea in the killing of 19-year-old Chester Allan Poage. Piper's appeal lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Piper, now 33, admitted his role in Poage's killing and faced a judge for his sentencing in 2001 on the advice of his lawyers who thought a jury was more likely to sentence him to death. The judge ordered the death penalty.

Piper appealed, and the state Supreme Court in 2009 overturned his death sentence by ruling that a jury, not a judge, should decide his fate. A jury then sentenced Piper to death in 2011.

An accomplice, Eljah Page, pleaded guilty and was executed in the death. A third man, Darrell Hoadley, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Piper filed another appeal, arguing that his death sentence was disproportionate to those in similar cases, particularly since Hoadley got a life sentence. The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected that argument.

The high court noted that Piper took part in kicking and stabbing Poage, and forced the victim to drink a toxic liquid.

Piper, Page and Hoadley had been friends with Poage, but when the victim's family left on vacation the three decided to kidnap him and steal things from his mother's home. Prosecutors said they knocked Poage out and tied him up, beat and stabbed him, stripped him and tried to drown him by pushing him into a stream where they stepped on his neck. They ended his life by dropping basketball-sized rocks on his head. Poage's body was found several weeks later in the stream.

"Throughout the evening, Poage begged for his life and repeatedly asked the men why they were hurting him," Justice Lori Wilbur wrote for the court.

"In contrast to his statements of remorse at this sentencing hearing, Piper bragged when he told his friends and cellmate about the events of the evening," Wilbur wrote.

The Supreme Court said its 2009 decision returning the case to a lower court for a new sentencing hearing did not allow Piper to raise the issue of withdrawing his guilty plea.

"Allan Poage's family has waited almost 14 years in their search for justice. Affirming the legality of Piper's conviction puts our criminal justice system a significant step closer to carrying out the jury's sentence," South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said in a statement.

Jackley noted that Piper can file further appeals in state and federal courts. 
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


The case of death row inmate Briley Piper has taken another step on the long road to justice. The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of Briley Piper, who was one of three men who robbed, tortutred and killed a Spearfish, S.D. man in a gulch in South Dakota's Black Hills in 2000. Piper admitted his role in the killing of Chester Poage. He along with another man in the killing, Elijah Page, were both convicted in 2001 and sentenced to death. Page was executed in 2007, after dropping all of his remaining appeals, and asked to be put to death. Page became the first condemned prisoner to be executed by the State of South Dakota in 60 years. A third man involved in the murder, Darrell Hoadley, is serving a life sentence without parole in the South Dakota Penitentiary for the murder. Both Page and Piper had pleaded guilty to the murder of Poage, and the judge sentenced them both to death. Meanwhile, Hoadley chose instead to stand trial in the case, and the jury in his trial deadlocked in the penalty phase of the trial. Accordingly, the judge was bound by state law to sentence Hoadley to life in prison without parole, since a death sentence would have required a unanimous verdict of the jury in that case.

Grinning Grim Reaper

Jackley seeks May execution for Rodney Berget

2 hours ago    By BLAKE NICHOLSON

Attorney General Marty Jackley has asked South Dakota court officials to set a spring execution date for a man ordered to die for his role in killing a state prison guard during an escape attempt 3 years ago.

Jackley has requested that Rodney Berget, 52, die by lethal injection at the State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls the week of May 3, 2015.

"The state believes that due process has been satisfied and is requesting that the sentence be carried out in the interest of justice," Jackley said in a statement Tuesday.

Defense attorney Jeff Larson said if the court grants the date, he likely will request a stay. He said it was too early to comment on possible legal grounds for such a request.

Berget and another prisoner, Eric Robert, attacked penitentiary guard Ronald Johnson during an April 2011 escape attempt. Johnson was alone in an area where inmates work on projects such as upholstery and signs. Robert donned Johnson's uniform and tried to move a large box with Berget inside toward the prison gate. They were caught before leaving the prison.

Robert was executed in 2012. A third inmate, Michael Nordman, was sentenced to life in prison for providing plastic wrap and a pipe used in the slaying of Johnson, which happened on his 63rd birthday.

Jackley said in an interview that he consulted with the state Department of Corrections and with Johnson's widow before deciding on which week to request. One reason for the choice is that "there's considerable work for the Department of Corrections in preparing for carrying out a death sentence," he said.

Berget was sentenced to death in February 2012 for his role in killing Johnson. The state Supreme Court overturned the sentence in January 2013, saying a circuit judge had improperly considered a statement Berget made to a psychiatrist. Berget last year was sentenced to death again.

Larson appealed on his behalf, saying a lower court should have allowed new evidence before Berget was resentenced. State Supreme Court justices rejected that argument this past August.

Jackley said if his chosen week is approved, the specific date and time will be announced closer to the execution.

Barring any delays, it will be "a final resolution from a legal sense," Jackley said. "With a victim's family that has had to go through this, certainly it's a long healing process."

There have been 18 executions in South Dakota history. The last was Oct. 30, 2012, when Donald Moeller, 60, was executed for the 1990 kidnapping, rape and killing of a 9-year-old Sioux Falls girl.
Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?


The only thing I could foresee delaying this would be whether the state Department of Corrections can obtain a usable supply of the lethal drugs that are used.  In the last two South Dakota executions, both condemned men were executed utilizing a one drug protocol, with pentobarbital being the single drug used.  South Dakota's death penalty statute was changed and no longer specifies that a specific drug or drugs be used. The department of corrections therefore has wide latitude as to which drugs are to be used.


Murderer of Sioux Falls correctional officer loses appeal
Rodney Berget is scheduled to be executed sometime between May 3-9

Mar 02, 2015

One of two men who killed a South Dakota correctional officer in a botched escape attempt at the Sioux Falls Penitentiary is a step closer to a lethal injection execution.
The U.S. Supreme Court, according to South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley, has denied Rodney Berget's petition for relief.

"I believe due process has been satisfied and that the interest of justice has been served," Jackley said in a release.

After pleading guilty to the 2011 killing of Correctional Officer Ronald 'RJ' Johnson, Berget was sentenced to death. He was serving a life sentence for attempted murder and an additional life sentence for raping a convenience store clerk in Sturgis.

Berget is scheduled to be executed sometime between May 3-9 at the state penitentiary.

Berget may seek the right to file additional appeals in order to stay the sentencing date.

Another inmate involved in the escape attempt, Eric Robert, also pleaded guilty. He was executed in October of 2012. Robert was serving an 80-year sentence for kidnapping in Lawrence County.

I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.

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