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Author Topic: SD: Briley Piper penalty phase trial now underway  (Read 3047 times)

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Offline Rick4404

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SD: Briley Piper penalty phase trial now underway
« on: June 15, 2011, 07:34:16 PM »
Here's the latest on the Briley Piper case in South Dakota. He is one of the three men who were convicted in 2000 of the brutal torture and murder of a mentally-challenged man in a gulch in South Dakota's Black Hills.

The South Dakota Supreme Court in 2009 overturned Piper's death sentence, because the court ruled Piper received incorrect legal information when he chose to waive his right to be tried in front of a jury and instead be tried by a judge without a jury.  Piper and co-defendants Elijah Page and Darrell Hoadley were convicted of the torture murder of Chester Poage.  Page waived his remaining appeals and was executed in July of 2007, the first execution in South Dakota in 60 years.  Hoadley chose to stand trial and was convicted of first degree murder, but since the jury deadlocked in the penalty phase, the court was bound by law to sentence him to life in prison without parole.  A jury must be unanimous in recommending that a death sentence be imposed in a capital case.

In a recent ruling, Circuit Judge Jerome Eckrich, who is presiding over the Piper resentencing hearing; said Lawrence County remains responsible for $16,500 worth of legal fees that were billed by Piper's defense attorneys.   

The penalty phase hearing for Piper is set to begin in Rapid City, S.D. on July 5th and prosecutors anticipate the proceeding could last for a month.

Quote
Judge says county must pay for Piper's defense

Andrea J. Cook
Rapid City Journal staff

Rapid City Journal | Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 7:00 am

Unlike Elijah Page, Briley Piper — who also pleaded guilty in the torture killing of Chester Poage in March 2000 — is seeking to appeal his death sentence.

After having already spent $486,000 to defend convicted murderer Briley Piper, the Lawrence County Commission voted this week to stop paying for his legal counsel.

The presiding judge in the case, however, issued an order Thursday that says the county will have to pay the attorney's bill for Piper's resentencing trial, which is scheduled to start July 5 in Rapid City and could last a month.

Piper, 31, was previously sentenced to death by Judge Warren G. Johnson for helping kill 19-year-old Chester Poage, who was slain in March 2000. The Supreme Court, however, has ordered that a jury needs to resentence Piper, citing the judge's instructions in the case.

"I am disappointed that you did not see fit to discuss this with me beforehand," Judge Jerome Eckrich said in a written response to the commission's vote. "The county is legally obligated to pay court-appointed counsel bills."

The judge informed the commission that every voucher sent to the county commission is a court order to pay the bill.

Commissioner Bob Ewing balked after seeing a May 10 bill for $16,500 from Piper's defense attorneys, Michael Stonefield and Robert Van Norman. His objection won the commission's unanimous support.

"Death penalty cases are extraordinarily expensive," Van Norman said Thursday.

According to Van Norman, the latest national study suggests it costs three times as much to put someone to death as it does keep a person in prison for life.

Lawrence County taxpayers have already carried a significant burden in this case, Ewing said.

"He (Piper) pled guilty to it. The man was convicted and sentenced," Ewing said.

The commissioner said he does not object to the appeals process, but the fact that this is a resentencing hearing makes this a different situation.

"This is kind of an animal of a different color where admitting guilt and already having a trial at the taxpayers of Lawrence County's expense," he said.

Commission Chairman Daryl Johnson said it was time to make a statement about the costs of Piper's defense but declined to say what the commission's next step will be.

"We're not sure what it will lead to or what it will accomplish," he said.

Piper, Elijah Page and Darrell Hoadley kidnapped Poage and robbed his mother's house in 2000. They killed Poage to cover up their crime. His body was found several weeks later in a stream.

In 2001, Piper and Page pleaded guilty to the torture slaying in the belief their best chance of escaping the death penalty was to admit to the crime and have a judge determine their sentence in hopes of receiving life in prison; both men instead were sentenced to death by the judge who presided over their trial. Page was executed in 2007 after waiving further appeals.

A jury convicted Hoadley of Poage's murder and gave him a life sentence.

The South Dakota Supreme Court overturned Piper's death sentence in July 2009. The high court said Piper was given incorrect legal information when he chose to enter a guilty plea rather than stand trial.

His attorneys appealed to the Supreme Court, which ordered a new sentencing trial by jury.

Contact Andrea Cook at 394-8423 or andrea.cook@rapidcityjournal.com



Offline Rick4404

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Re: SD: Briley Piper penalty phase trial to begin July 5th
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2011, 08:48:28 PM »
It should be noted that the South Dakota Supreme Court did affirm Briley Piper's guilt in this case.  Therefore, the question of his guilt or his innocense is not at issue.  That has been dispensed with already.  The question at issue is whether he will be sentenced to death by lethal injection or to life in prison without parole.

I guess we'll find out next month.  It's been more than 10 years since this horrendous crime happened and he was sentenced to death.  They should get on with this and the sooner the better. 

Offline JTiscool

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Re: SD: Briley Piper penalty phase trial now underway
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2011, 10:33:08 AM »
I voted sentenced to death as something I hope will happen.
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.

Offline Rick4404

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Re: SD: Briley Piper penalty phase trial now underway
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2011, 08:36:25 PM »
I voted sentenced to death as something I hope will happen.

This thing is far from being over. If Piper does get resentenced to death; there will be numerous appeals. It's all a part of the deal in a capital case. Since this would be a new death sentence, I assume it would automatically be appealed to the State Supreme Court. This case has been getting bounced around in the state courts system in South Dakota and it hasn't even touched the federal system yet.

As John Fitzgerald, the states attorney of Lawrence County (South Dakota refers to their DA's as states attorneys) who's office will be prosecuting the case, was quoted: "This is merely another step in the long road to justice."

Offline AnneTheBelgian

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Re: SD: Briley Piper penalty phase trial now underway
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2011, 07:02:02 AM »
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/news/article_98352ac6-a6a9-11e0-8e28-001cc4c03286.html

Jury selection begins today for Briley Piper’s sentencing

Andrea J. Cook

Journal staff

Posted: Tuesday, July 5, 2011 7:00 am

The first of about 200 Pennington County residents who could be called during jury selection for the Briley Piper sentencing trial will be questioned today.

The men and women finally selected will determine the 30-year-old Piper’s fate – death or life in prison.

Piper’s sentencing trial was a first test for the news media of the Unified Judicial System’s new rule giving courts the option of permitting photographers, video cameras and audio recording equipment in the courtroom.

A media request to make a visual record of a court proceeding requires the unanimous approval of the judge, prosecutors and defense attorneys. A judge’s permission is all that is needed for audio recordings of courtroom events.

However, Mike Picoitta, 4th Circuit Court administrator, said the media request for both visual and audio access to the trial was denied.

Piper, 30, pleaded guilty to the killing of 19-year-old Chester Allan Poage near Spearfish in 2000. He elected to accept 4th Circuit Judge Warren G. Johnson’s sentence and waived his right to have a jury decide his fate.

After Johnson imposed the death penalty, Piper appealed his sentence to the Supreme Court and was granted a sentencing trial. The high court determined that Piper was given the wrong legal information when he decided to have Johnson determine his sentence.

Piper’s attorneys requested a change of venue for the sentencing trial and sought to move the case to eastern South Dakota.

Fourth Circuit Judge Jerome Eckrich instead moved the trial to Pennington County.

Piper’s trial will require the joint efforts of court officials from three counties.

“It’s a very unique case,” Picoitta said. “A little confusing, Lawrence County is handling the trial, but everyone is working together to try and do a good job with this.”

Lawrence County State’s Attorney John Fitzgerald is prosecuting the case.

Pennington County will supply the venue and provided the list of potential jurors.

Because Eckrich is assigned to Meade County, Meade County clerk of courts Lane Keil and her staff are in charge of juror selection.

Keil said the judge has set aside two week for the process of questioning jurors to determine their suitability to hear the case.

“Approximately 200 people will be pulled (summoned for jury duty),” Picoitta said. “A limited number of jurors will be called each day.”

Piper is one of three men charged with Poage’s murder.

Elijah Page also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death. He waived his appeals and was executed in 2007.

Darrell Hoadley was sentenced to life in prison after a jury convicted him of Page’s murder.

Piper, Page and Hoadley kidnapped Poage and robbed his mother's house in 2000. They killed Poage to cover up their crime. His body was found several weeks later in a stream.

In 2001, Piper and Page pleaded guilty to the torture slaying in the belief their best chance of escaping the death penalty was to admit to the crime and have a judge determine their sentence in hopes of receiving life in prison; both men instead were sentenced to death by the judge who presided over their trial. Page was executed in 2007 after waiving further appeals.

A jury convicted Hoadley of Poage's murder and gave him a life sentence.
















Anne
"DEATH PENALTY OPPONENTS WHO TWIST THE TRUTH TO PROTECT KILLERS ARE ALSO TORTURING VICTIMS FAMILIES" (PETER BRONSON, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER,FEBRUARY 3, 2003)

PRO DEATH PENALTY AND PROUD OF IT !!!

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Offline Rick4404

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Re: SD: Briley Piper penalty phase trial now underway
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2011, 07:17:08 AM »
Probably a good thing that they decided not to allow TV cameras or audio recording devices into the courtroom for the resentencing phase.  The last thing that all parties want would be to turn this into a media circus.  This case itself is sensational, even for South Dakota, which sees relatively little truly violent crime.  Homicides out there are rare, and as such, death penalty eligible cases are even rarer still.  I'm sure that's why the judge and attorneys for both sides obviousl agreed it would be best to keep camers and recorders out of the courtroom.  For obviouos reasons that such a sensational case would result in sensational news coverage by the statewide media there in South Dakota. 

That being said, something has to be done about Briley Piper. This case has been going on for over ten years now.  The sad part is that if Piper does get sentenced to death again, it will be many years before he finally is executed, if he ever is executed. 

As we've seen already, it takes the state courts in South Dakota way too long to dispose of appeals in a capital case. Let's see, Piper, Page and Hoadley were convicted in 2000 in the brutal torture, robbery and murder of Chester Poage. Co-defendant Elijah Page later dropped his appeals and was executed in 2007, South Dakota's first exercise of capital punishment in 60 years to that date.  The third man of this murderous trio, Darrell Hoadley was tried and convicted of first degree murder; but the jury deadlocked in the penalty phase of his trial leaving the court no option but to sentence Hoadley to life in prison without parole. Piper's death sentence was overturned in 2009 by the state supreme court; and now we are at the beginning of his resentencing today.

My understanding is that if Hoadley does get a death sentence this time around, since it would be a new death sentence; it would be automatically appealable to the South Dakota Supreme Court.  Then there are numerous appeals he could then avail himself of in state and federal courts beyond that.  If he's executed in less than 20 years, that would be remarkable.

Offline Rick4404

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Re: SD: Briley Piper penalty phase trial now underway
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2011, 07:55:55 AM »
The resentencing trial for Briley Piper is now underway with the process of selecting a jury that will determine Piper's fate.  The question is not whether Piper is guilty.  That matter has been disposed of.  The case is back before the trial court because the South Dakota Supreme Court overturned Piper's death sentence in 2009, ruling that a jury should have determined his sentence and not a judge alone.

Quote
Resentencing begins for SD murder convict
 
Associated Press | Posted: Tuesday, July 5, 2011 5:33 pm

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - The process of selecting a jury has started for the resentencing trial of an Alaska man who helped murder a South Dakota man 11 years ago.

The Rapid City Journal reports that Briley Piper appeared in court Tuesday as the first potential jurors were questioned. KOTA-TV reports that prosecutors may eventually call doctors and other staff from the state prison in Sioux Falls as witnesses.

Piper, a native of Anchorage, pleaded guilty to killing 19-year-old Chester Poage (pohg) near Spearfish in March 2000 and was sentenced to death. The state Supreme Court later ruled that a jury and not a judge should have decided Piper's fate and ordered that he be resentenced.

Another man involved in the killing was executed and a third got life in prison.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Offline Rick4404

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Re: SD: Briley Piper penalty phase trial now underway
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2011, 07:11:34 AM »
Jury selection continues in Rapid City this week for the resentencing trial of Briley Piper. Piper is one of three men who were convicted in the 2000 robbery, torture and murder of a mentally challenged man in an icy creek in a Black Hills gulch.

Piper and co-defendant Elijah Page both pleaded guilty to their roles in the crime and waived their rights to a jury trial. They were both convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death in Deadwood, S.D. by Fourth Circuit Judge Warren Johnson. Page abandoned his appeals and was executed in 2007, the first exercise of capital punishment by the state of South Dakota in 60 years to that date. Piper's death sentence was overturned in 2009, when the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that a jury should have decided Piper's punishment and not the judge alone. A third defendant in the trio, Darrell Hoadley, instead stood trial and was convicted of first degree murder. Unfortunately, the jury deadlocked in the penalty phase of his trial, leaving the court no choice but to sentence him to life in prison without parole. In South Dakota, a jury's verdict must be unanimous in order to recommend a death sentence in a case.

http://www.blackhillsfox.com/2011/07/08/The-process-of-finding-a-jury-continues-on-the-Briley-Piper-case

Quote
Jury selection to continue next week in resentencing of SD murder convict
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 
First Posted: July 09, 2011 - 8:15 am
Last Updated: July 09, 2011 - 8:16 am

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Jury selection will continue in Rapid City next week for the resentencing trial of an Alaska man who helped murder a South Dakota man 11 years ago.

Briley Piper, a native of Anchorage, pleaded guilty to killing 19-year-old Chester Poage (POGH) near Spearfish in March 2000 and was sentenced to death. The state Supreme Court later ruled that a jury and not a judge should have decided Piper's fate and ordered that he be resentenced.

Another man involved in the killing was executed and a third got life in prison.

KEVN television reports that juror questioning will resume Monday morning.

Lawrence County State's Attorney John Fitzgerald estimates that the selection process will be complete by Wednesday.

Information from: KEVN-TV, http://www.kevn.com



Offline Rick4404

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Re: SD: Briley Piper penalty phase trial now underway
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2011, 02:36:15 PM »
From KEVN-TV (Black Hills FOX TV) Rapid City, S.D.

Quote
Jury questioning continues in Piper case

http://www.blackhillsfox.com/2011/07/12/Jury-questioning-continues-in-Piper-case

Tuesday, 12 July 2011 11:55 
More than 150 jurors later and attorneys are still questioning each potential juror one by one in the re-sentencing trial of Briley Piper. Piper is a convicted murderer who will be re-sentenced by a jury after the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that a jury, not a judge, should have decided his punishment. The prosecutor in the case believes the juror questioning should wrap up Wednesday or Thursday. The final 12 will decide if Piper will receive life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty. Piper pleaded guilty for his part in the torture and ultimate murder of Chester Allan Poage back in 2000. -Justin Pazera

 

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Re: SD: Briley Piper penalty phase trial now underway
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2011, 05:36:45 PM »
http://www.blackhillsfox.com/2011/07/13/Potential-jurors-narrowed-in-Piper-re-sentencing
Both prosecutors and defense attorneys were busy on Thursday whittling down the 57 remaining potential jurors down to the 15 that will hear the case from the original pool of more than 180 who were summoned in the resentencing trial of Briley Piper. The proceedings were moved from Lawrence County, S.D. over to neighboring Pennington County, S.D. out of fear that an impartial jury could not be seated in the county in which the murder took place.  Opening arguments in the penalty phase retrial are scheduled for Monday afternoon in the Pennington County Courthouse in Rapid City, S.D.  The jury panel will consist of twelve jurors and three alternate jurors.   

Quote
Jury selection to wrap up Thursday in Piper re-sentencing

Wednesday, 13 July 2011 12:42pm MDT

Attorneys in the re-sentencing trial of Briley Piper have narrowed the field of potential jurors from more than 180 to just 57. They started questioning potential jurors last Tuesday.  On Thursday they'll weed those 57 down to 15 who will hear the case.  Three more will be dismissed before deliberations begin, and only 12 will actually enter the jury room to decide Briley Piper's punishment.

Piper admitted to his role in the murder of Chester Allan Poage near Spearfish more than a decade ago. He was sentenced to death by a judge, but the South Dakota Supreme Court said he should have been sentenced by a jury.
 
The Lawrence County state's attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that at least one of three aggravating circumstances existed in the crime to warrant the death penalty rather than life in prison, but even if jurors find one of those did exist, the jury is not required to sentence Piper to death.

Opening statements are scheduled for Monday afternoon.
 
Julie Oberlander

 

Offline Rick4404

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Re: SD: Briley Piper penalty phase trial now underway
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2011, 07:51:35 AM »
As we know all too well, even if this jury does hand down a death sentence to Briley Piper, it will take years for him to be executed, if he ever is.

Since this would be a new death sentence (his old one was thrown out) then there would be an automatic review by the state Supreme Court.

Prosecutors in this case will need to make absolutely certain that they leave no appealable grounds during the resentencing trial -- make sure all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed and that the rules be followed to the letter. John Fitzgerald, the lead prosecutor in the case, will definitely have to be on his "A" game.

It took ten years for this case to go from sentencing to the 2009 decision of the state Supreme Court which overturned his death sentence. I think the state high court based their decision on the U.S. Supreme Court case (Ring v. Arizona, I think it was) that a jury must decide the punishment in a capital case and not a judge alone.

Offline AnneTheBelgian

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Re: SD: Briley Piper penalty phase trial now underway
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2011, 03:22:48 PM »
I have found this article...

http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/7dc15fc0a26e4a439b55ed9350ec74bb/SD--Piper-Case/

Piper's attorney says client is sorry for role in 2000 killing, argues life should be spared

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 
   
First Posted: July 18, 2011 - 7:18 am
   
Last Updated: July 18, 2011 - 5:35 pm

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The attorney for an Alaska man facing the death penalty for his role in the killing of a 19-year-old South Dakota man says his client's life should be spared because he is sorry for his actions.

Defense attorney Robert Van Norman told jurors Monday that Briley Piper is no longer the "lost boy" he once was. He says Piper while in prison has worked to overcome his learning disability and attention deficit disorder, completing 45 hours of college coursework.

Piper is being resentenced for his admitted role in the 2000 killing of Chester Poage (POHG) near Spearfish. A judge initially sentenced Piper to death, but the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that he should have been sentenced by a jury.

Opening statements in the resentencing began Monday afternoon.
















Anne
"DEATH PENALTY OPPONENTS WHO TWIST THE TRUTH TO PROTECT KILLERS ARE ALSO TORTURING VICTIMS FAMILIES" (PETER BRONSON, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER,FEBRUARY 3, 2003)

PRO DEATH PENALTY AND PROUD OF IT !!!

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Offline AnneTheBelgian

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Re: SD: Briley Piper penalty phase trial now underway
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2011, 06:54:27 AM »
http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/piper-sentencing-trial-gets-underway-with-autopsy-photos/article_c512c1ba-b1bd-11e0-8d24-001cc4c002e0.html

Piper sentencing trial gets underway with autopsy photos

Heidi Bell Gease

Journal correspondent

Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 7:00 am

Briley Piper admits he helped beat and stab Chester Allan Poage to death. Still, he averted his eyes Monday as jurors in his sentencing trial were shown graphic autopsy photos of Poage’s wounds.

So did Piper’s and Poage’s mothers, who were in the courtroom as what is expected to be a two-week hearing got underway in Rapid City.

Poage was 19 years old in March 2000 when he was killed by Piper, then 19, Elijah Page, 18, and Darrell Hoadley, 20. Piper, Page and Hoadley drove Poage to a remote wooded area near Spearfish where they kicked him, stabbed him and threw large rocks at him as he pleaded for his life. The three then took Poage’s Blazer, stole items from his mother’s house and drove to Missouri for a “mini-vacation.”

Jurors in the case aren’t there to determine Piper’s guilt, but instead to decide whether he deserves the death penalty for his crime. Piper, now 30, pleaded guilty to Poage’s murder in 2001 and was sentenced to death by Judge Warren G. Johnson. He later appealed Johnson’s sentence. The state Supreme Court overturned the sentence and said a jury should decide Piper’s fate.

For Piper to receive the death penalty, the prosecutor must prove one of three things: that Piper participated in the murder for financial benefit, that Poage’s death was outrageously vile or inhuman, or that Poage was murdered to prevent Piper’s arrest.

Lawrence County State’s Attorney John Fitzgerald told jurors that he believes the evidence will prove all three elements. And he wasted no time addressing the heinousness of the crime, calling forensic pathologist Dr. Donald Habbe as his first witness.

Habbe performed the autopsy on Poage, whose nearly naked body was found in a creek in Higgins Gulch in April 2000. Habbe testified that bruising and blood on and inside Poage’s body proved Poage was alive as he was beaten and when he received three stab wounds to the neck and head. Two of those stab wounds may have been fatal.

Evidence photos projected onto a screen in the courtroom showed bruising and lacerations on Poage’s head. The photos also showed that parts of both ears and most of the skin on the back of Poage’s head were missing.

Habbe said one of the potentially lethal stab wounds cut Poage’s jugular vein. The other, above his right ear, penetrated his skull and went about one inch into his brain – something Habbe has never seen before.

“The skull is a bone,” he explained. “To penetrate the skull, that’s a good deal of force.”

Habbe said Poage could have survived for some time despite his wounds.

Defense attorney Robert Van Norman didn’t dispute the evidence or the awfulness of the crime.

“This is a true tragedy,” he said. “I think of this case, really, as an instance of four lost boys,” all of them “awash in drugs.”

Van Norman said Piper “was not wired correctly” from birth. He had severe attention deficit problems and a learning disability, plus older siblings involved with drugs. He was suspended from kindergarten and in trouble with the law by age 9 for stealing.

None of that excuses Piper’s actions, Van Norman said, but it helps explain things.

Piper has taken responsibility for his actions. While in prison he has been baptized as a Catholic; he has also earned 45 college credit hours. “He’s actually trying to do something with himself,” Van Norman said. “Briley wants to live.”

If at the end of the trial 12 jurors agree that Fitzgerald has proven at least one of the three aggravating circumstances, they could sentence Piper to death by lethal injection.

Page, who also pleaded guilty and was sentenced by Judge Johnson, waived his right to appeal and was executed in July 2007. Hoadley was convicted at trial and is serving life in prison.

Testimony is scheduled to resume at 8:30 a.m. today.











Photo : Briley Piper is escorted from the Pennington County Jail to the Pennington County Courthouse on Tuesday, July 5, 2011. Jury selection began on Tuesday for Piper's sentencing trial. (Ryan Soderlin/Journal staff) >:(


















Anne





"DEATH PENALTY OPPONENTS WHO TWIST THE TRUTH TO PROTECT KILLERS ARE ALSO TORTURING VICTIMS FAMILIES" (PETER BRONSON, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER,FEBRUARY 3, 2003)

PRO DEATH PENALTY AND PROUD OF IT !!!

JE MAINTIENDRAI (MOTTO OF WILLIAM I THE SILENT, PRINCE OF ORANGE, 1533 - 1584, MOTTO OF THE NETHERLANDS)

DEO JUVANTE (MOTTO OF THE PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO)

PROUD TO BE BELGIAN !!! I LOVE MY KINGDOM !!!

Offline Rick4404

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Re: SD: Briley Piper penalty phase trial now underway
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2011, 07:23:23 PM »
http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/judge-rejects-request-for-mistrial-in-piper-case-after-question/article_b40f2cba-b34c-11e0-a5ee-001cc4c002e0.html

Quote
Judge rejects request for mistrial in Piper case after question about inmate privileges
 
Heidi Bell Gease
Journal correspondent
Rapid City Journal | Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2011 6:00 am

Legal counsel for admitted killer Briley Piper moved for a mistrial Wednesday after a Lawrence County state’s attorney’s question ventured into an area the judge had previously ruled off limits.

Lawrence County State’s Attorney John Fitzgerald asked a prison warden if inmates are allowed to watch television and defense attorney Robert Van Norman immediately asked for a recess. After the jury left the room Van Norman said Fitzgerald’s question was a direct violation of 4th Circuit Judge Jerome Eckrich’s order not to bring up the privileges inmates receive behind prison walls.

Fitzgerald responded by saying he had merely asked a general question.

Eckrich disagreed. “You stepped over the line there,” he said, but added, “I don’t think it’s irretrievable.”

Penitentiary unit manager Brad Woodward’s response to the question had been brief and proceedings were immediately stopped. However, Eckrich directed Fitzgerald to “not even get close” to the topic when testimony resumed.

Jurors in the case are charged with determining whether Piper, 30, deserves the death penalty or life in prison for his role in the 2000 murder of 19-year-old Chester Allan Poage.

When Fitzgerald posed the television question, Woodward testified that since Piper arrived at the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls in 2001 he had broken administrative rules 80 times, 22 of those for what are deemed “major infractions,” such as getting a tattoo in prison.

Woodward said none of the infractions were for insolence to staff or for violent acts. Piper is confined to his cell 23 hours each day, with one hour for showering and recreation in a locked “cage.”

Woodward said he would describe Piper as more of a leader than a follower, noting that he is intelligent and outgoing. But he acknowledged that Piper had not used those “leadership qualities” to create problems in prison.

Van Norman pointed out that 15 of Piper’s major infractions occurred during his first two years in prison. However Woodward estimated that 75 percent of inmates become better behaved over time.

Wednesday’s testimony began with former prison psychiatrist Dr. Ulises Pesce, who met with Piper between 2001 and 2004 to treat him for depression, anxiety and other problems. Pesce told jurors Piper said “he didn’t do anything wrong and shouldn’t be here.” Piper also felt that what the state was doing to him by imposing the death penalty was a terrible crime, according to Pesce.

In 2004 Pesce diagnosed Piper with anti-social personality disorder, which typically involves a lack of remorse or concern for others. Manipulation, deceitfulness and violence can also be associated with the disorder.

“Anybody can have an anti-social behavior,” Pesce explained. “This is an enduring pattern of behavior.”

Pesce acknowledged that he had not seen Piper for seven years. He also said Piper’s history of attention-deficit disorder could affect his ability to make good choices.

Jurors ended the day by watching a two-hour videotaped interview investigators did with Piper in Alaska in late April 2000, less than a week after Poage’s body was found near Spearfish. In it Piper appears calm and relaxed as he tells investigators how his friend Elijah Page came up with a plan to rob Poage, then “flipped out” and held a gun to Poage’s head, tied him up and forced him to drink hydrochloric acid.

“I sat back and watched in awe,” Piper said, though he admitted kicking Poage in the face as he lay on the ground “because he reached for me.”

In the interview, Piper calmly tells how he, Page and Darrell Hoadley took Poage to Higgins Gulch, made him strip down to his T-shirt, and proceeded to beat and kick him. He denies stabbing Poage and says he retreated to Poage’s Blazer when Page began throwing rocks at Poage’s head.

“I was like, ‘Man I can’t hang with this anymore’ … I could hear Allan screaming his head off,” Piper says, telling how he turned up the music to drown out the sound. “It sounded like rock on rock.”

Piper also tells how the trio robbed Poage’s house and then drove his Blazer to Missouri, pawning stolen items and using Poage’s ATM card to get money along the way. He says they stayed in Missouri just 12 hours before returning to South Dakota, where Page dropped the others off in Rapid City.

Throughout the tape Piper maintains that Page was the “ringleader” and that he hadn’t wanted to participate but went along because he was afraid Page might come after him. Piper also says that “if a friend of mine’s getting into a fight, I’ve got his back” – though he never said Poage fought back.

“Why didn’t you just get the hell out of there that night?” asks investigator Pat Humphrey, to which Piper replies, “I’m homeless.” At the time he was living at Page’s house.

At one point Piper says Poage “seemed like a cool guy” and that “for a brief second” he thought about helping him. Instead, he kicked him “four or five times” in the head and body with his combat boots.

When Humphrey tells Piper that Poage died of brain hemorrhaging, Piper replies, “I tried not to kick him too hard in the head.”

Testimony resumes today.

Copyright 2011 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Offline JeffB

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Re: SD: Briley Piper penalty phase trial now underway
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2011, 02:11:55 PM »
SOUTH DAKOTA:

Inmate says he lied about SD murder co-defendant


1 of the 3 men convicted of robbing and murdering a 19-year-old friend 11 years ago in South Dakota testified that a co-defendant who was executed for the killing, not one trying to avoid a death sentence, hatched the murder plot.

Darrell Hoadley, who is serving life behind bars for the murder of Chester Poage in 2000, testified Thursday that much of what he told investigators about Poage's killing was untrue, and that he lied because he wanted a lighter sentence.

One of Hoadley's co-defendants, Elijah Page, was executed for the slaying in July 2007, and a resentencing hearing was under way for the other, Briley Piper. A judge had sentenced Piper to death, but the state Supreme Court ruled that a jury, not a judge, should decide whether the 30-year-old Anchorage, Alaska, man should get death or life in prison.

Hoadley told jurors on Thursday that he lied when he told investigators that Piper the group's ringleader and that it was Page, not Piper, who first proposed killing Poage. He also said he made up a story about how Piper talked to him for hours about how "neat" it would be to kill someone.

Hoadley did, however, testify that Piper played an active role in the plan to rob Poage and leave town, intimidating Poage into revealing the PIN number for his ATM card by threatening to rape and kill Poage's mother and sister. Piper also used Hoadley's knife to stab Poage in the head, Hoadley testified.

Asked if he felt remorse for what happened, Hoadley shrugged. "Can't change what's happened," he said.

Hoadley was to resume testifying on Friday.

Poage was friends with the men who killed him. Page voluntarily ended his appeals and put to death in what was South Dakota's 1st execution in 60 years. Hoadley, of Lead, was convicted by a jury and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

(source: The Associated Press)

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