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January 30, 2012 03:05 PM

Family Of Slain Guard Weep As Photos Displayed

sioux falls, sd


Family members of a slain South Dakota prison guard killed in a failed escape attempt wept as a medical examiner described in detail the injuries the 63-year-old man endured.

Minnehaha County Medical Examiner Kenneth Snell testified during the pre-sentencing hearing of 49-year-old Rodney Berget on Monday.  Berget has pleaded guilty to killing Ronald Johnson on April 12 - Johnson's birthday. He has said he wants a judge, not a jury, to decide whether he should be sentenced to death.

Prosecutors say Berget and 49-year-old Eric Robert bashed Johnson with a pipe and placed plastic wrap around his head before stealing his uniform in an unsuccessful escape attempt.

Family members began to cry as autopsy photos were displayed and Snell testified that in his opinion, Johnson did not die right away.
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