The South Dakota State Supreme Court issues a ruling on South Dakota's last remaining death row inmate

 Briley Piper update. (KOTA)
Briley Piper update. (KOTA) (KOTA)
Published: Dec. 12, 2019 at 5:21 PM CST
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The South Dakota State Supreme Court issued a ruling on South Dakota's last remaining death row inmate.

Back in 2000, Briley Piper and two other men, Elijah Page and Darrell Hoadley, took part in the murder of Chester Allan Poage in Higgins Gulch outside of Spearfish.

The 18-year-old was tortured and brutally murdered, which resulted in two men being sentenced to death, and a third to life without parole.

When it comes to Briley Piper, a decision came from the South Dakota Supreme Court on Thursday, turning down a series of his appeals.

The court says they did not find any constitutional issues that required the reversals of Piper's death sentence that was imposed by the jury in 2011.

Piper claimed his original guilty pleas were not done voluntarily and intelligently. He also claims he did not receive proper assistance of counsel during his first change of plea hearing and during his jury resentencing.

Piper has been on death row since 2001, but initially, his death sentence was reversed, which then lead to a resentencing jury trial that took place in Pennington County in 2011.

And once again, the jury unanimously voted for the death sentence.

Lawrence County State's Attorney, John Fitzgerald, says he's pleased that this part is concluded.

"Well, the sentence you know is a death sentence, and it is yet to be carried out, and it will continue to be appealed. Now it will go from the state court system I believe into the federal court system," says Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald says the next phase is up to Piper as to what further appeals he takes.

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