Judge upholds death penalty sentence for South Dakota man

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A judge says a man who pleaded guilty to killing a prison guard during an escape attempt does not have an intellectual disability and can face the death penalty.

Fifty-five-year-old Rodney Berget pleaded guilty in April 2012 to killing Ronald "R.J." Johnson in a failed prison escape attempt in April 2011 along with fellow inmate Eric Robert. Berget was scheduled to be executed in May 2015.

The ruling follows a nearly-week long court hearing in Sioux Falls

Attorney General Marty Jackley says the facts demonstrate that Berget was a leader, not a follower, and has a highly developed planning and problem solving ability. Jackley says he will now seek a warrant for Berget's execution.

Robert also pleaded guilty in the April 2011 killing of Johnson. Robert was executed in 2010.