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October 28, 2011 03:52 PM

Lawyer: Calling Eric Robert To Testify 'Risky'

sioux falls, sd


A noted defense attorney says calling Eric Robert to the stand during the trials of two other men charged with killing a South Dakota prison guard would be a risky move for the prosecution.


Robert confessed to killing 63-year-old Ronald Johnson on April 12 in a failed escape attempt and said he wanted to die. He was sentenced to death Thursday.

Two other inmates, 49-year-old Rodney Berget and 47-year-old Michael J. Nordman, have been charged in the killing and have pleaded not guilty. They await trial.

Norm Pattis says under normal circumstances, Robert may have offered to testify for the state in exchange for life in prison.

But Pattis says Robert is a "wild card" whose desire to die makes him totally unreliable. He says Robert could also scare jurors.
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