James McVay is the fourth person on South Dakota’s death row following a decision Monday night by a Minnehaha County jury that McVay should die by lethal injection for murdering 75-year-old Maybelle Schein. A jury of seven men and five women handed down the verdict after hearing seven days of testimony and evidence.
McVay joins 55-year-old Charles Rhines who has been sitting on death row since 1993. Rhines was convicted of murdering 22-year-old Donnivan Schaeffer in a Rapid City donut shop in March of 1992. Schaeffer was found in the storeroom bound and repeatedly stabbed. According to the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office, Rhines’ appeals have been exhausted in state court but he is currently appealing his death sentence in federal court with filings due in June.
Briley Piper is also sitting on death row for the 2000 beating death of Chester Allen Poage. Piper pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death by a judge in 2001. But Piper appealed and his death sentence was overturned. A jury sentenced him to death a second time in 2011. Piper still has federal and state appeal options.
Rodney Berget joined death row in 2012 after he pleaded guilty to murdering South Dakota Correctional Officer Ron Johnson during a failed prison escape in 2011. Berget was sentenced to death by a judge. His death sentence was overturned by the South Dakota Supreme Court for technical reasons and Berget was sentenced to death again by the same judge in May of 2013. Berget also has state and federal appeals available.