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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 email@example.com
I voted sentenced to death as something I hope will happen.
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.
Jury selection to continue next week in resentencing of SD murder convictTHE ASSOCIATED PRESS First Posted: July 09, 2011 - 8:15 amLast Updated: July 09, 2011 - 8:16 amRAPID 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
Jury questioning continues in Piper casehttp://www.blackhillsfox.com/2011/07/12/Jury-questioning-continues-in-Piper-caseTuesday, 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
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
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 amLegal 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.