If history repeats itself, South Dakota death row inmate Rodney Berget will get exactly what he wants; his death sentence overturned.
Berget was serving two life sentences in the South Dakota State Penitentiary for attempted murder and rape when, in 2011, corrections officer Ron Johnson was killed by three inmates, including Berget, during a failed escape attempt. As for the two others involved, Michael Nordman was sentenced to life in prison and Eric Robert was sentenced to death and executed in 2012.
Berget also received the death penalty in 2012, but he had his case reviewed by the South Dakota Supreme Court. They overturned the death penalty ruling in January of 2013 because the court felt that a statement about Berget's psychiatric evaluation was improperly used. The case was returned back to the second circuit court where Berget requested a new sentencing hearing. Judge Brad Zell rejected the request in April of last year and Berget was once again sentenced to death for the crime.
The South Dakota Supreme Court will hear arguments in Berget's appeal starting Tuesday. Berget's lawyers claim more evidence should've been heard during the second sentencing process.
The appeal will be heard in Pierre and KELOLAND News will have a crew in the courtroom. You can watch a livestream of the hearing starting at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.