Lawyer appeals death sentence to SD Supreme Court - KOTA Territory News

Lawyer appeals death sentence to SD Supreme Court

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) _ A lawyer for a South Dakota man sentenced to death for killing a prison guard says the state Supreme Court should overturn the ruling because his client was not given a fair trial in the penalty phase of the case.

 

Lawyer Jeff Larson argued before the South Dakota Supreme Court on Monday that the sentencing hearing for 50-year-old Rodney Berget was skewed because it came after Judge Brad Zell had already sentenced another inmate to death in the case.

 

Berget and 50-year-old Eric Robert had pleaded guilty in the April 2011 killing of prison guard Ronald Johnson during a botched prison escape.

 

Attorney General Marty Jackley argued that Berget repeatedly waived his right to a jury trial.

 

The court will make its decision at a later date.

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