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Donald Moeller: A Timeline

July 19, 2012, 10:02 PM by Don Jorgensen

Donald Moeller: A Timeline
Donald Moeller

It took 22 years, but convicted child killer, Donald Moeller will finally be executed for the brutal rape and murder of a nine-year-old Sioux Falls girl.

As Moeller now sits on death row awaiting his execution day, we look back at the case that horrified and outraged KELOLAND viewers.

It was May 8 1990, when nine-year-old Becky O'Connell was first reported missing.

Police released this photo to the media in hopes she'd be found alive and okay.  But they later learned she had been kidnapped while on her way to a convenience store to buy some candy.

The following morning her body was found in a wooded area in Lincoln County. Her killer had driven her to a secluded area, raped and killed her by stabbing and slashing her throat.

While investigators scoured the area looking for evidence, one man immediately became a possible suspect.

"They say the man has a lengthy criminal history and in recent years his actions have become increasingly violent against women and children," KELOLAND's Jessica Armstrong reported.

That man was Donald Moeller. 

"We want to question him that doesn't necessarily mean he's a suspect, but it certainly wouldn't rule it out," Lincoln County State's Attorney Jeff Masten said.

But Moeller was nowhere to be found because he had fled South Dakota.

Then in February of 1991, Moeller was captured in Washington state and brought back to Sioux Falls to face murder charges. 

After a lengthy and emotionally charged trial, Moeller was convicted in 1992 and sentenced to die.

But the state Supreme Court overturned his conviction, ruling that improper evidence was used at trial.

Then in 1997, Moeller was again convicted and sentenced to die.  The state had offered him a deal if he confessed to the killing.

"I don't think you can have any sympathy for this guy, he had an opportunity to save his own life and he didn't take it," Lincoln County State's Attorney Scott Abdallah said.

Moeller again appealed his conviction, but the state Supreme Court affirmed the sentence.

Finally after exhausting all of his appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, on Wednesday a judge set Moeller's execution date for the week of October 28th.

Moeller has a pending appeal claiming that South Dakota's death penalty is unconstitutional, but Attorney General Marty Jackley believes that appeal will be dismissed with Wednesday's ruling.

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