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September 28, 2012 11:12 AM

Judge To Hear Arguments On Execution Protocol

SIOUX FALLS, SD

A federal judge will hear arguments next week on whether South Dakota's capital punishment procedure for a one-drug protocol of pentobarbital is constitutional.

Convicted killer Donald Moeller has said in state court that he's ready to accept death as the consequence of the 1990 killing of Becky O'Connell. His execution is scheduled for the week of Oct. 28 through Nov. 3.

But attorneys representing Moeller in the federal case contend South Dakota's execution method violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Issues to be considered at the hearing include degree of risk, magnitude of pain and the availability of other essential protocols.

The hearing before Judge Lawrence Piersol is scheduled for Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in Sioux Falls.

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