SIOUX FALLS, SD -
The fate of convicted killer Donald Moeller remains unclear after a federal judge declined to rule on a request to dismiss his challenge of South Dakota's capital punishment procedure.
U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Piersol on Thursday was set to listen to arguments on the constitutionality of the execution method, despite an attempt by Moeller's state court attorney to dismiss the federal case.
Piersol took the request under advisement. The case has become mired in a series of bizarre motions, including one that pits Moeller's state lawyer against his Arkansas-based public defenders.
The Arkansas lawyers contend that the execution method using pentobarbital violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Moeller is to be executed in late October or early November in the 1990 killing of 9-year-old Becky O'Connell.
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