Rodney Berget, convicted of killing South Dakota Prison Guard Ronald Johnson in 2011 and sentenced to death in 2012, has waived his right to appeal his sentence.
Judge Doug Hoffman said in court Friday he received a letter from Berget in August stating he wanted to move forward with his execution against the wishes of his legal counsel.
Berget’s attorney, Eric Shulte, said in court they believe there is evidence that Berget may be “intellectually disabled.”
Shulte requested an investigation to go forward to determine if Berget’s execution would be unconstitutional based on his mental capacity.
Berget stated in court that he wanted Friday to be his “last day in court” and he understands his decision to waive his right to appeal his death sentence.
He also stated, however, that he will not stop his counsel from doing their “legal duty” with an investigation on his I.Q.
South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley requested Judge Hoffman remove the stay of execution for Berget.
Jackley stated if Berget was able to write Judge Hoffman a letter back in August, then it proves he is of “sufficient” intellect.
Judge Hoffman ruled a status hearing will take place in the next 60 to 90 days to determine what the next steps are regarding Berget’s death sentence.
The family of the Ronald Johnson was in attendance for Berget’s hearing on Friday.
Berget and a co-conspirator, Eric Robert, were convicted of planning an escape from the South Dakota State Penitentiary in 2011 and killed Johnson as part of their escape.
Robert was executed in October 2012.
Berget’s execution was delayed by a court ruling in April of 2015 based on Berget’s request and filing of a habeas petition.