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State Executes Donald Moeller

October 30, 2012, 10:29 PM
Updated: October 30, 2012, 11:28 PM

State Executes Donald Moeller

The Sioux Falls man who just recently admitted killing a 9-year-old girl 22 years ago has been executed at the South Dakota State Penitentiary.

Donald Moeller raped and killed Becky O'Connell in Sioux Falls in May 1990.  She was last seen alive at a neighborhood store buying candy.  Investigators found her mutilated body the next morning near Lake Alvin.

Eight months later, Moeller turned up in Tacoma, Washington.  He was arrested, convicted and sentenced to die for the O'Connell's death.  But the South Dakota Supreme Court reversed the ruling over improper testimony.

A new trial in 1997 led to Moeller's conviction and death sentence, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld as Moeller exhausted the appeals process.

Moeller is the 18th person to be executed in South Dakota with three men sitting on death row.

Following the execution, witnesses gave their accounts of what happened.

Kristi Eaton, with the Associated Press, noted that Moeller was wearing a white t-shirt and orange jail pants when they first saw him already strapped to the execution table.  When asked for last words, Eaton says Moeller responded, "No, Sir."  A moment later he said, "They're my fan club."

Steve Young with the Argus Leader says he would have liked to have seen Moeller as he was strapped to the table and the IVs were inserted.  Young reports that shortly after Moeller's last words, he could hear deep breaths coming from the room.  Within a minute or two, Young says he could no longer see Moeller's chest moving.  Warden Doug Weber stood over Moeller for about 10 minutes before calling in the coroner.  

Both media witnesses say they noticed Moeller's face go ash and then purple.  Young says it appeared to be a quick, painless and clinical death.  

Click on the attached video player to watch the news conference that followed the execution.

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