User uShare Login | Register
Login
Register

Along with posting photos, videos, and stories, your uShare account lets you post Classified Ads, recipes on What's For Dinner, and Announcements.


29° View Weather Current Conditions Sioux Falls Change Location
Set Weather Options

RADAR LOCATION

TEMPERATURE LOCATION

Share your Photos, Videos, and Stories on uShare! Click here to get started.

KELOLAND.com | Sioux Falls News & Weather, South Dakota News & Weather, Minnesota and Iowa News

[0] My Saved Articles
Find local businesses
on the KELO Pages!

 

Berget Admits To Killing Correctional Officer

November 17, 2011, 5:55 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Berget Admits To Killing Correctional Officer
SIOUX FALLS, SD - They both tried to break out of the South Dakota State Penitentiary this spring, and now both of the inmates involved in the deadly escape attempt have admitted to the crime.

Thursday 49-year-old Rodney Berget pleaded guilty to killing Correctional Officer Ron Johnson during the escape attempt in April.

His guilty plea comes just three weeks after fellow inmate Eric Robert was sentenced to death for his role in the failed prison break.

Berget and Robert were both caught at the west gate of the prison on April 12 trying to escape. Robert was wearing Johnson's uniform; Berget was hiding in a box, on a cart, being pushed by Robert.

Against the advice of his attorney, Berget said in court Thursday that he killed Correctional Officer Johnson by delivering the first blow with a metal pipe.

He said he was plotting the escape since August and actually wanted to carry it out a day earlier.

"April 11, was a Monday, I was going to try it then. I couldn't do it because there were too many people around so waited until Tuesday which is April 12," Berget said.

Berget says on April 12th he went to the laundry area of the prison where he grabbed a metal pipe, and then he went to the Pheasantland Industries building.

"When I got down to the shop I waited around a corner until officer Johnson came out of the office,” Berget said in court.

“When I seen him come out of the office I waited until he got to the back of the shop and came as fast as I could without making any noise and I started hitting him in the head with my pipe until he went down and wasn't moving any longer," Berget said.

Prosecutors say they have evidence that directly links him to the crime. Berget's DNA was found on the pipe that was used to kill Johnson, and Johnson's blood was splattered on Berget's shoes and pants.

Berget now faces the death penalty, and just like his co-defendant Eric Robert, Berget wants Judge Zell to make the life or death decision and not a jury.

Thursday Judge Zell made sure Berget knew that he had sentenced Robert to death.

"Are you aware this court has already rendered a death sentence involving Eric Robert?" Zell asked.

"Yes," Robert responded.

"And that the court would guess that much of the evidence that may be presented from the state may be very similar or identical to that evidence," Zell said.

"Yes," Robert responded.

And now Berget is looking at death as his only way to ultimately escape from the prison walls.

The sentencing phase of Berget's case is scheduled to start January 30.

A third inmate, 47-year-old Michael Nordman, was supposed to be in court Thursday in connection with the escape but his hearing was moved to December.

Nordman is accused of giving Berget and Robert the pipe and the plastic used to kill Correctional Officer Johnson.

Previous Story

Next Story


Comments





RELATED STORIES


 
Find Local Businesses on KELO Pages!

You may also like

Parker Teen Dies In One Vehicle Crash

4/12/2014 10:18 AM

16-year-old Tonya Anderson from Parker, SD died in a one vehicle crash west of Sioux Falls on Highway 42 on Friday.

Full Story
Woman Killed In Sioux Falls Home

4/16/2014 6:01 PM

Sioux Falls police are investigating a murder in the southwest part of the city.

Full Story
SF Woman Dies In Crash Near Brookings

4/12/2014 10:34 AM

A Sioux Falls woman died in a two vehicle crash on I-29 south of Brookings.

Full Story
Missing Girls Case Update On Tuesday

4/15/2014 7:15 AM

Authorities plan to release an update on the investigation into the 1971 disappearance of two South Dakota girls.

Full Story
Remains Found In Car Are Missing Girls

4/15/2014 1:39 PM

After more than 40 years, the families of two missing teenage girls now know what happened to them.

Full Story


Events

 
 
KELOLAND TV: 501 S. Phillips Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 57104
Phone: 605.336.1100 · Breaking News call: 1-800-888-5356
Web Site Design and Custom Programming By: Lawrence & Schiller© 2014 KELO-TV -- KELOLAND.COM -- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED