Berget Shows No Remorse, Asks For Execution
February 2, 2012, 5:45 PM
SIOUX FALLS, SD - He's tried to escape from the South Dakota State Penitentiary eight times.
During his most recent attempt last spring, Rodney Berget killed Correctional Officer Ron Johnson, and in the final day of Berget's death-penalty hearing the confessed killer asked to be executed.
The past three days Berget's attorneys have been fighting for the inmate's life. Thursday when Berget spoke for the first time in court he told Judge Brad Zell that he should be put to death during a one minute statement.
"I'm guilty of taking Ronald Johnson's life. I knew what I was doing on the day I went over to the shops," Berget said.
Berget says he knows he destroyed a family when he, and inmate Eric Robert, beat Johnson to death with a metal pipe in the prison shop last spring.
"They'll never see their father again, or husband. He'll never walk through that door again. I made sure of that by my actions," Berget said.
Berget never apologized for the crime and didn't ask for mercy, but simply ended his 63 second statement by saying he deserves to die.
"I'm not going to beg the court or ask the court to spare my life. I believe I deserve the death penalty for what I've done," Berget said.
Berget's attorney, Jeff Larson, said during his closing arguments Thursday that Berget didn't want to show remorse for the crimes he's committed because he wants to be executed and end the two life sentences he's currently serving.
Judge Brad Zell is now deliberating the proper sentence for Berget, and will call everyone back to court when he makes his decision.
It's possible that could come in the next few days.
To hear Berget's entire statement click on the video player below.
© 2012 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.