The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld Rodney Berget’s death sentence.
Berget was sentenced to death in 2012 for his role in the murder of Correction Officer Ron ‘RJ’ Johnson during a failed prison escape in April 2011.
Berget had argued that he should get a new death sentencing hearing because he wanted to present evidence about his newfound son and family.
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In a 4-1 decision Thursday, the South Dakota Supreme Court denied the new hearing and upheld Berget’s death sentence.
“The heinousness of the crime, as well as Berget’s extensive criminal history, hopeless chance of rehabilitation and multiple attempts of escape leave no alternative but to protect the public through imposition of the death penalty,” South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said in a statement Thursday.
This was the second time Berget has appealed his death sentence. The Supreme Court overturned his first sentence because of an error by the judge, but Berget was resentenced to death a few months later.