PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Supreme Court has ruled that the personal representatives of a woman who died in a state prison tried to uphold a request in her will.

The justices publicly released the unanimous opinion Thursday rejecting her brother’s legal challenge.

Bonnie J. Pease died of health conditions in 2013 while an inmate at the South Dakota Women’s Prison. She had hand-written a will seven months earlier that gave her estate to Lynn and Lisa Schock of Aberdeen.

The will said the Schocks were to give “a share to my brother Douglas Dean Hubert and for Cocky’s (her bird) new keeper mom search, and making some arrangements for litigation start monies to correct injustices at SDWP in Pierre.”

The Schocks contacted the American Civil Liberties Union about pursuing a lawsuit but there wasn’t interest. Hubert however claimed they hadn’t met the condition. Chief Justice Steven Jensen wrote that they had.

“He argues that the Schocks should have expended more resources or made further efforts to
pursue litigation against the SDWP,” the chief justice explained. “In response, the circuit court provided Douglas an opportunity to present a plan to fulfill the Litigation Condition. Douglas did not at any time present an alternative plan. More importantly, there is no evidence, or even a suggestion, that the Estate had a potentially meritorious claim against the SDWP.”