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Moeller's Life On Death Row

October 30, 2012, 5:56 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Moeller's Life On Death Row
Donald Moeller | October 2012


We know how Donald Moeller will spend the last hour of his life, but he's been on death row for 20 years.  Earlier this month he gave us a glimpse into what he's been doing in prison since 1992.  
During a court hearing when Moeller was being questioned by a federal judge to see if he was competent to give up his final appeal, Moeller said he's been held in solitary confinement in the high-security Jameson Annex of the South Dakota State Penitentiary since 1992.  He then went on to detail what he does in that cell.

Life on South Dakota's death row is lonely.

South Dakota Department of Corrections policies say that death row inmates are housed one to a cell, cannot have a job and cannot have contact with any other inmates in the general population.  They are allowed 45 minutes of recreation everyday, but may not go outside to exercise.  It's the life Moeller has been living for the past 20 years.

During a half-hour conversation earlier this month, Moeller told Federal Judge Lawrence Piersol that he wakes up every morning and dusts and sweeps his death row cell. He eats breakfast and lunch and takes a nap.

Around dinner time, Moeller says that's when his mail comes as well; it includes the daily paper. Moeller says he does the crossword puzzle from the paper everyday while he watches one of his favorite programs, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.

Moeller also says he's been reading the Bible and the Book of Mormon because death row inmates have access to the prison library.

Moeller has been taken off death row and is now preparing for his execution in this small holding cell near the death chamber.

He is on 24-hour surveillance while he waits for his punishment.

When asked earlier this month if he knows how he will be executed, Moeller said quote:  "They are going to put poison in my veins and it will kill me.  It may take five minutes.  It may take 20 minutes; I accept that."

As far as visits before the execution, Moeller cannot have any visits with family members six hours before it.  He can meet with his attorneys or any clergy members until one hour before the execution.

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