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Where Executed Body Goes Next

October 16, 2012, 9:52 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Where Executed Body Goes Next

Now that Eric Robert has been executed, you may wonder where his body goes.

Robert couldn't escape from the South Dakota State Penitentiary alive, but did leave in an ambulance following his execution.  That's because state law spells out what happens in the days following any execution in the state.

While a coroner examined Robert for seven minutes immediately following the lethal injection, his body will now undergo a full autopsy.  It's likely the cause of death will be listed as a drug overdose as the result of an execution.

State law dictates that the Department of Corrections contact Robert's family.  The family then has the option to take the body and proceed with burial arrangements at their expense.  There were no members of Robert's family present to witness the execution.

If 48 hours passes after the death and the family refuses delivery of the body, Robert's body will then become the responsibility of Minnehaha County.  If that happens, Robert will most likely be buried in an unmarked grave in the county cemetery.

That's what South Dakota's law spells out, but the final move for Robert is in the hands of his family.

A full autopsy is standard whenever an inmate dies while behind bars in South Dakota, no matter whether foul play is suspected.

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