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Judge To Rule On Moeller Appeal Soon

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Sixty-year-old Donald Moeller is scheduled to die by lethal injection sometime next week. But it's possible a judge could stay the execution which means his execution could get put on hold. This time, it's because a woman, who claims to be Moeller's stepsister, says he isn't competent.

"A friend has filed a request to stay the execution of Donald Moeller that's scheduled for the week of Oct. 28," said South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley.

Donna Nichols filed a motion last week to be appointed 'next of friend', which would allow her to act on Moeller's behalf. If granted, she would be able to continue the appeals process. Jackley argued against the motion on Monday, saying the court lacks jurisdiction over the case, and Nichols has no standing.

Jackley said, "This next of friend had very little contact with Donald Moeller, no relationship of blood value and that really had not made a demonstrated showing of the need to intervene in this case."

Moeller's attorney, Mark Marshall and Moeller, himself, agreed. Moeller told the judge Nichols' mother married his stepfather so they are not related. He also told the judge that she isn't a friend, that she's only visited him four times in the last five years, and that she knows his position. He wishes to be executed.

Jackley said, "We've reached a point where he's accepted responsibility, he's admitted to what he's done and he's prepared to accept the state's sentence."

Jackley says Moeller has already demonstrated that he is competent.

"I think his colilique or his discussion with the court on Oct. 4, demonstrated an individual that number one accepted responsibility for his actions for in his words the kidnapping rape and murder of a young little girl and number two that he understood the basic premise of the lethal injection process," said Jackley.

Earlier this month, Moeller's federal-appointed attorney's from Arkansas tried to prove he is incompetent, but the judge dismissed the motion. When it comes to Nichols' motion, the judge says he'll make his decision promptly, as Moeller's execution could come as early as Sunday.

Donna Nichols wasn't present for the hearing Monday. The attorney acting on her behalf is Bob Van Norman, who is connected to the Arkansas Public Defenders office. He also represented Moeller at one time. Moeller says based on those facts alone, the motion should be dismissed.
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