sioux falls, sd
Rodney Berget has changed his plea to guilty Thursday afternoon.
Forty-nine-year-old Berget admitted to using a pipe to kill Corrections Officer Ron 'RJ' Johnson in April 2011. Berget says he tried to get a guard uniform to use in an escape on April 11. When that didn't work, he tried again on April 12. Berget said in court that he first retrieved a pipe and then waited until Johnson walked by. Berget followed and hit Johnson with the pipe until Johnson was no longer moving.
Berget faces either a life sentence or the death penalty. He said in court Thursday that he wants Judge Brad Zell to determine his sentence, rather than having a jury decide.
Another inmate, Eric Robert, has already pleaded guilty in the crime and was sentenced to death. His execution is set for May.
A third inmate, Michael Nordman, is also charged. He is accused of providing the metal pipe and plastic wrap used to kill Johnson.