User uShare Login | Register
Login
Register

Along with posting photos, videos, and stories, your uShare account lets you post Classified Ads, recipes on What's For Dinner, and Announcements.


82° View Weather Current Conditions Sioux Falls Change Location
Set Weather Options

RADAR LOCATION

TEMPERATURE LOCATION

News

[0] My Saved Articles
Find local businesses
on the KELO Pages!

 

Lawsuit Claims DOC Also Liable For Officer's Death

April 27, 2012, 6:05 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Lawsuit Claims DOC Also Liable For Officer's Death
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Two inmates have been sentenced to die for killing Correctional Officer Ron 'RJ' Johnson during a failed prison escape last year, but Johnson's widow says they aren't the only ones responsible.

A lawsuit filed Friday afternoon by Johnson's estate claims Department of Corrections officials ignored policy by housing inmates Rodney Berget and Eric Robert in less-secure areas even though they were maximum security prisoners.

In a 24-page lawsuit, Johnson's widow claims the Department of Corrections not only moved inmates Berget and Robert out of the maximum security area of the prison, but claims that DOC staff knew the pair were plotting an escape attempt that involved killing an officer.

Berget and Robert were some of the most dangerous criminals housed at the South Dakota State Penitentiary.

Robert had a 903-page file at the prison and a previous escape attempt. Berget had been in and out of the penitentiary since he was 15 and had at least seven escapes or attempted escapes on his record. That's why the inmates were classified as maximum security risks, according to the lawsuit.

However, Berget and Robert were not housed in a maximum security facility the day they tried to break out of prison by killing Correctional Officer Johnson. Both inmates were allowed to work jobs throughout the prison and had free movement within the walls.

The lawsuit says Berget and Robert were allowed to be housed in a less-secure facility and have jobs because they were having a difficult time 'adjusting' to the maximum security facility.

This was a violation of Department of Corrections policy, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit goes on to say DOC officials simply portrayed Johnson's murder as a tragic anomaly and something that could have never been predicted or prevented.

The lawsuit also says that DOC staff members had knowledge that both inmates were planning a murder and escape.  One portion of the lawsuit even says as early as 2008, during a hearing for Robert's request to reduce his 80-year prison sentence, it was learned that the inmate had been plotting to kill a prison employee during an escape.

The lawsuit also says that the after-incident report that was prepared by the DOC that says all policy and procedures were followed the day Johnson was killed misrepresents the true facts that led up to the correctional officer’s death and the attempted escape.

Previous Story

Next Story


Comments





RELATED STORIES


 
Find Local Businesses on KELO Pages!

View news

You may also like

DCI Looking Into Discovery Of Woman's Body

7/21/2014 4:00 PM

The discovery of a woman's body in Kimball has prompted an investigation by South Dakota law enforcement authorities.

Full Story
Sioux Falls Man Killed In Industrial Accident

7/21/2014 2:22 PM

An investigation is underway into the death of a Sioux Falls man in an industrial accident.

Full Story
Body Identified: No Foul Play Suspected

7/22/2014 8:56 PM

No foul play is suspected in the death of 64 year-old Susanna K. Bannwarth. The Fulton woman was reported missing Monday morning. Her body was f...

Full Story
Car Versus Bike Crash Near 41st And Marion

7/23/2014 4:39 PM

A car versus bike crash happened at the intersection of 41st Street and Larch Avenue.

Full Story
Missing Woman Located

7/23/2014 6:19 PM

Tori Jean Bruggeman has been located by police. Authorities are working to get her reunited with family.

Full Story


Events