Five Inmates On Death Row In SD
by Ashley Kringen, Reporter
October 10, 2012 10:07 PM
In South Dakota, there are five inmates currently on death row and two will be executed this month.
Next week, Eric Robert will face execution for the killing of a corrections officer after trying to escape from a South Dakota State Penitentiary last year.
Donald Moeller’s execution is set for the week of October 28th, for the 1990 slaying of a nine-year-old girl.
The three other inmates are in the appeals process right now.
These are the five convicted killers waiting to die; Eric Robert, Briley Piper, Charles Rhines, Donald Moeller and Rodney Berget.
Berget, along side Robert, pled guilty to murdering South Dakota prison guard Ronald Johnson during an escape attempt from the State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls in April of 2011.
Berget was to face death in September of this year, but the Supreme Court upheld his execution in August, pending an appeal process.
Robert will see his death next week.
Piper, also on death row, took part in the brutal torture and murder of Chester Allan Poage, who was 19-years-old.
His execution was scheduled for March of this year, but was put on hold to allow Piper time to pursue federal appeals.
The killing happened in March of 2000, near Spearfish.
Rhines, has been on death row since 1993 for stabbing his former co-worker, Donnivan Shaeffer to death, in a Rapid City donut shop.
Rhines was in court in July and tried to appeal his death sentence, challenging the constitutionality of the method of execution.
Four days have been set-aside at the end of November for a court trial.
Lastly for Moeller, the inmate who has been on death row the longest, will face execution this month.
Moeller was convicted for the 1990 rape and murder Becky O'Connell, who was nine-years-old.
Her parents last saw Becky on May 8th of 1990 in Sioux Falls, when she left her home to buy candy at a nearby gas station and never returned and the morning after, two men found her body in a ditch in Lincoln County.
Moeller had raped Becky and used a knife to make cuts all over her body; she later died after Moeller slit her throat.
On Tuesday, Moeller wrote a letter from the pen to the judge, asking to dismiss his arguments challenging his death sentence and to move forward with the execution and the judge, accepted.
Moeller's execution is scheduled the week of October 28th.
It’s been six years since the chamber in the South Dakota pen in Sioux Falls has seen an execution, but after this month, there will be three inmates left on death row.
Preparations are being made at the state pen for the execution of Eric Robert, who will face his death next week.