Sioux Falls, SD
There are no more court cases standing between Donald Moeller and death.
More than two decades after kidnapping, raping and killing nine-year-old Becky O'Connell in Lincoln County, Moeller is set to be executed in three weeks.
Wednesday, a federal judge accepted Moeller's request to dismiss the convicted killer's final appeal. Moeller had been appealing South Dakota's lethal injection procedures.
Last week, he asked for his appeal to be dismissed because he said quote, "I killed and I deserve to be killed."
Moeller's court-appointed public defenders from Arkansas argued Moeller wasn't competent to drop the case.
Wednesday, federal Judge Lawrence Piersol said Moeller is competent and the case is dismissed.
Donald Moeller's half-hour conversation with Judge Piersol last week in the Sioux Falls Federal Courthouse gave Piersol insight as to why the convicted killer is ready to give up his appeals.
Moeller admitted for the first time that he kidnapped, raped and murdered O'Connell in Lincoln County in May of 1990.
"I killed the little girl. It is just that the punishment be concluded," Moeller said while being questioned by Piersol last week.
Moeller even explained to Judge Piersol during the questioning how he would be executed.
"Sometime after the 28th of October, I'll be transported to a holding area in the old hospital," Moeller detailed. "They are going to put poison in my veins and it will kill me. It may take five minutes. It may take 20 minutes. I accept that."
In his decision issued Wednesday, Judge Piersol wrote, "During the Court's extensive questioning of Moeller, he was at all times articulate and coherent with regard to the nature of his civil rights action and the consequences of abandoning the action."
Judge Piersol went on to explain that Moeller admitted to the crime and was able to explain in 'general terms' how he would be executed and in 'specific terms' when the execution would take place.
And it's for those reasons that Judge Piersol has decided that Moeller can give up his final appeal and pave the way for the execution he's been eluding for more than two decades.