Sioux Falls, SD
The man who has already admitted to his part in a prison escape plot that ended with the brutal murder of a corrections officer, is headed back to court.
Eric Robert's guilty plea last month opened him up to the death penalty. He is scheduled for a motions hearing Friday and that hearing is one of the first high-profile cases where our cameras will be rolling.
Robert has already admitted hatching the escape plan. He worked on it for a month, and on the morning of April 12, Robert singled out 63 year-old correctional officer Ron Johnson as part of that plan to kill an officer and escape from the state penitentiary.
"I incapacitated him by hitting him in the head with a lead iron pipe and then I put saran wrap over his mouth and nose to stop him from breathing," Robert said during his guilty plea last month.
At that hearing, the media was only allowed microphones in court. But Robert's courtroom appearance Friday has been opened to media cameras as well. It's the first major case to allow media full-access since the law changed July first.
Robert's sentence could be as severe as death. A judge has the single deciding vote. But not before a week-long trial at the end of this month where both sides will present evidence. During Friday's hearing attorneys will go over motions before that trial begins.
Two other men are also charged in the case. Michael Joseph Nordman was just named last month as the man who allegedly provided the murder weapon. Rodney Berget attempted to escape with Robert. He plans to move forward with a jury trial. We will have extensive coverage and stream the entire court appearance Friday beginning at 10 a.m. on KELOLAND.com.