The South Dakota Supreme Court has affirmed the death sentence of Briley Piper in a ruling handed down Thursday morning.
In 2001, Piper pleaded guilty to murdering 19-year-old Chester Allan Poage. Piper and two other men brutally killed Poage in March 2000 near Higgins Gulch by Spearfish.
Piper was originally sentenced to death by Judge Warren Johnson in 2001, but Piper appealed the sentence because he said he didn’t validly waive his rights to have a judge sentence him instead of a jury.
Piper was granted a second sentencing hearing and Piper also filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea. The court denied that motion and a jury again sentenced Piper to death.
In a unanimous decision handed down Thursday, the South Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s ruling to deny the motion to withdraw the guilty plea, and the justices affirmed Piper’s death sentence.
“The family of Chester Allan Poage has waited almost 14 years in the search for justice. With today’s decision, we are a significant step closer to carrying out the jury’s sentence,” South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said.
Piper still has one state and one federal appeal left.
Elijah Page, who also took part in Poage’s murder, was executed in 2007. Darrell Hoadley is serving a life sentence for his role in the crime.