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Berget Changes Plea To Guilty

November 17, 2011, 5:58 AM
Updated: November 17, 2011, 5:45 PM

Berget Changes Plea To Guilty
Rodney Berget

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.

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