KDLT Home KDLT on Facebook KDLT on Twitter Get the KDLT iPhone App Get the KDLT Android App

Supreme Court Hears Rodney Berget Appeal



Bookmark and Share

The South Dakota Supreme Court began it's October term at the University of Sioux Falls on Monday. The justices heard a number of cases including the appeal of 50-year-old Rodney Berget's death sentence.

You may remember, Berget pleaded guildty to killing correctional officer Ronald Johnson in a failed prison escape attempt in April of last year.

It was in November that Rodney Berget pleaded guilty to first degree murder. And earlier this year, Judge Bradley Zell sentenced him to death by lethal injection. But on Monday, in front of the South Dakota Supreme Court, Berget's Attorney Jeff Larson argued the sentence should be reversed.
    
Larson said, "My client didn't have a chance anyway."

Larson argued that Berget didn’t receive a fair sentence because his case was heard by the same judge who had already sentenced his co-defendent, Eric Robert, to death.

Larson asked, "What choice does he (Judge Zell) have?" "If he makes a factual finding different than what he does in Robert he brings into question the finding in Robert," said Larson.

But the state says Berget waived his right to a jury trial several times.

Larson also argued that a psychiatric evaluation of Berget should not have been considered during sentencing unless the doctor who wrote it testified. Since he wasn't called to the stand, Larson says it should not have been referenced in the judge's decision. The attorney general answers back by saying it shouldn't even be an issue.

Attorney General Marty Jackley said, "That report wasn't used against the defendent, it was found in favor of the defendent."

Finally, Larson argued that compared to other murders in South Dakota that resulted in death sentences, the attack was not vicious enough to warrant a death sentence. That's when Jackley, once again described what Berget had done to the correctional officer on his 63rd birthday.

Jackley said, "He rushed Officer Johnson striking him repeatedly with a metal pipe until he no longer moved for the stated purpose of killing him."

The court will not make a decision on Berget's appeal until a later date. So far, a deadline for the decision has not been set. But a decision is expected soon as it could call his co-defendent Eric Robert’s sentence into question.

Robert's execution is executed is scheduled to take place on the week of Oct. 14. A third inmate was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the crime.

< Prev Story Back To Top Next Story >
     

BackPack Program To Feed Record Amount  story with video

The number of stomachs one South Dakota food assistance program has been ...

Obama Authorizes Federal Disaster Aid For SD

President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for South Dakota ...

1st Revenue Estimate Puts SD State Budget In Black

Two agencies say state government is expected to end the new fiscal year in the black. ...

SF Road Construction Season In Full Swing  story with video  Jul. 28

Grain Elevators Looking For More Trains  story with video  Jul. 28

Police Release SF Robbery Suspect Pictures  Jul. 28

Man Reported Fake Robbery At SD Verizon Store  Jul. 28

SBA Disaster Centers Closing In 3 SD Cities  Jul. 28

Education Students In SD Get State Scholarship  Jul. 28

No More Handshakes  story with video  Jul. 28

Dollar Tree Buying Family Dollar For $8.5 billion  Jul. 28

Court Upholds SD Man's Murder Sentence  Jul. 28

CO Man Dies In Meade County Accident  Jul. 28

Aurora Woman Killed In Idaho Accident  Jul. 28

Iowa Town Bracing For Closure Of Tyson Foods Plant  Jul. 28

Grain Storage Space A Problem In Parts Of SD  Jul. 28

SD Statehood Project Uses Soil From Each County  Jul. 28

Tornado-Stricken Nebraska Town Gets Some Iowa Help  Jul. 28

Officials Urge Crackdown On Tax Evaders At Rally  Jul. 28

Tribal Group Asking For Hearing On Water Rights  Jul. 28

KDLT News Archive
     

Police Release SF Robbery Suspect Pictures

Sioux Falls Police have released surveillance pictures ...

CO Man Dies In Meade County Accident

A Colorado man died in a one-vehicle crash on the New ...

No More Handshakes  story with video

(NBC News) Our society dictates that when meeting someone new the polite ...

Court Upholds SD Man's Murder Sentence  Jul. 28

Aurora Woman Killed In Idaho Accident  Jul. 28

Dollar Tree Buying Family Dollar For $8.5 billion  Jul. 28

BackPack Program To Feed Record Amount  story with video  Jul. 28

Iowa Town Bracing For Closure Of Tyson Foods Plant  Jul. 28

KDLT News Archive
     
Back To Top