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Robert's Letter Calls For Changes In Law

October 16, 2012, 5:02 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Robert's Letter Calls For Changes In Law
Eric Robert | 2011


One day after his death, we're hearing more from executed South Dakota inmate Eric Robert in his own words.

This afternoon, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley released a handwritten letter sent to him from Robert.  It gives us an idea of what was on the convicted killer's mind less than a week before his death.

In the letter, Robert thanked Jackley for his "humanity." But he also went further. Robert said he deserved to die and that the process was not speedy enough; he even urged the Attorney General's office to consider a constitutional amendment because of his situation.

Three pages of Robert's handwriting, being shared after his execution. In well thought out, clearly written statements, the convicted killer thanked the Attorney General for, "showing humanity" during the final family visit before his execution.

Robert said he had always believed in capital punishment, and that his sentiments hadn't changed because he was the one being punished. He also criticized Jackley for his conclusions and tactics employed during the trial, saying the prosecution did not place enough emphasis at trial on the planning and execution of Johnson's murder.

Robert also put pressure on the South Dakota Supreme Court, saying because he waived his right to appeal his death sentence. Robert believed the automatic appeals through the court slowed down the process that he believed was intended to be much faster.

Robert even went as far as suggesting Jackley and Lynette Johnson, RJ's widow, propose a change in the law to speed up executions for death row inmates who do not appeal their sentences, saying the change should be called the "R.J. Johnson Amendment."

In a statement released with the letter, Jackley said he did not directly communicate with Robert and only went through his attorney. He also said he will make no further comments about the letter.

Eric Robert Letter To Jackley.pdf

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