Sioux Falls, SD
More than two decades after the crime and just week's before his scheduled execution, one of South Dakota's most notorious killers makes what could be his final court appearance.
On Thursday, Donald Moeller admitted to murdering Becky O'Connell in May of 1990 and gave federal Judge Lawrence Piersol a detailed description of life behind bars and told him why he deserves to die for the crime.
Moeller has asked that his federal lawsuit challenging South Dakota's method of execution be dismissed. However, Moeller's Arkansas-based public defenders argued in court Thursday that the appeal should continue because Moeller isn't competent to give up his appeals.
To determine if Moeller is competent Judge Piersol had a half-hour conversation with Moeller during court on Thursday.
Moeller talked about living in solitary confinement for the past 20 years and what he does every day. From dusting his prison cell to watching the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and doing daily crossword puzzles, Moeller detailed life on death row.
Moeller then told Judge Piersol that he wants his federal appeal dismissed and wants to be executed.
"I killed the little girl. It is just that the punishment be concluded," Moeller said as he addressed Judge Piersol.
It was the first time Moeller had ever admitted in his own words that he kidnapped, raped and murdered O'Connell more than 20 years ago.
"The jury said it's just. The law says it's just. The Bible says it's just and I believe it's just," Moeller said in talking about his pending execution.
Judge Piersol didn't make a decision on Thursday about dismissing the case, but says he will make one soon.