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 >
     

Yankton's Tom Brokaw Optomistic About Cancer

South Dakota's Tom Brokaw says his cancer is in remission.  "A year ago my future ...

Family Of SD Girl Makes Progress On Animal Shelter

The family of an 8-year-old girl who was killed by dogs on the Pine Ridge ...

SF Police React To Officer Shootings In NY, FL  story with video

It was an emotional weekend for police officers across the ...

Watertown PD In Contact With Missing Man  Dec. 22

Vikings: 30K Tickets Already Sold For New Stadium  Dec. 22

North Korea Experiencing Severe Internet Outages  Dec. 22

SD Inmate Elves Make Toys For Needy Kids  Dec. 22

British Singer Joe Cocker Dies At 70  Dec. 22

South Dakota Deputy Among 19 Carnegie Heroes  Dec. 22

Avon Woman Dies In Crash Near Tyndall  Dec. 22

Ian Keisacker Has Passed Away  Dec. 22

The Daily Scoop 12-22-2014  story with video  Dec. 22

Sioux Falls Casino Robbed By Armed Suspect  Dec. 22

Light Display Honors Deceased Husband  story with video  Dec. 21

SD Trying To Lure Lawyers Into Rural Practice  Dec. 21

Shopping Rush May Continue Till Christmas Eve  Dec. 21

Local Christmas Tree Farm Closed For Season  Dec. 21

Angel Tree Shines Light On Sioux Falls Agency  story with video  Dec. 21

Florida Police Officer Fatally Shot  Dec. 21

Firefighters To Give Toys To Hospitalized Children  Dec. 21

KDLT News Archive
     

Local Christmas Tree Farm Closed For Season

If you still don't have a Christmas tree, you might ...

Light Display Honors Deceased Husband  story with video

Decorating a home for the holidays has taken on a whole ...

Ian Keisacker Has Passed Away

A local 12-year-old boy who had been battling cancer has ...

Florida Police Officer Fatally Shot  Dec. 21

Avon Woman Dies In Crash Near Tyndall  Dec. 22

Woman Sentenced For Using Personal Data  Dec. 21

Shopping Rush May Continue Till Christmas Eve  Dec. 21

Sioux Falls Casino Robbed By Armed Suspect  Dec. 22

KDLT News Archive
     
Back To Top