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About 30 people arrived at the scheduled execution of Rodney Berget to sentence the death penalty.
Wochit

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Rodney Berget, a man convicted of killing a prison guard in a thwarted escape from the South Dakota State Prison, was executed on Monday afternoon after being delayed several hours with lethal injection.

Berget was sentenced to death for the murder of prison officer Ron RJ Johnson in 2011 during a failed escape attempt. Berget had been serving a life sentence for attempted murder and kidnapping.

The execution took place after six years of legal delay and debate over his intellectual abilities and five hours of delays on Monday.

"The execution of Inmate Rodney Berget was in accordance with state law," said DOC spokesman Michael Winder at 20:10

"He (Berget) chose to be evil," said Ronald Johnson Daughter. We chose a family to be better.

The other inmate who wanted to escape from prison, Eric Robert, was executed in 2012 after he was guilty of murder, and Michael Nordman was sentenced to life imprisonment for using plastic wrap and tube used in homicide. [19659008Alittleafter6:30pmCTtheUSSupremeCourtclearedthewayforthelethalinjectionforBerget56aftersevenyearsondeathrowinthestateAsAttorneyGeneralofSouthDakotaMartyJackleywaitedforthedecisionoftheSupremeCourtBergetplannedtheexecutionat13:30andleft

The execution, which is the fourth since the reintroduction of the death penalty in 1979, will take place on Monday night, Jackley said [19659008] In a Tennessee case ruled a federal judge Monday that the state Edmund Zagorski can not execute as scheduled on Thursday, unless prison officials give his lawyer in the last ten minutes of his life, access to a telephone so the lawyer can call a judge if something goes wrong during the lethal injection.

In the South Dakota case, Chicago-based lawyer Juliet Yackel argued that Berget is mentally handicapped. The State Supreme Court had previously denied Yackel's request, arguing that Berget did not have the intellectual capacity to receive the death penalty.

► October 13: The occupant's request to die on an electric chair saved his life. for a few days
► Oct. 11: Washington becomes the 20th state to prohibit executions
► Oct. 2 Court appears to fellow prisoners who can not remember crimes [19659018BergetwhowassentencedtodeathasthesecondmemberofhisfamilyfiledaswornstatementovertheweekendsayinghehadtoldYackelnottoappeal

His affidavit indicated that he did not want to deny his execution, and he said he declined a visit on Oct. 2 by Yackel. In 2000, Berg's older brother Roger was executed in Oklahoma after being executed in 1987 for killing a man for stealing his car.

People gather in front of the South Dakota State Prison in Sioux Falls on October 29, 2018 Remember the killed prison guard Ron "RJ" Johnson before his killer Rodney Berget, 56, is executed. (Photo: Briana Sanchez, (Sioux Falls, SD) Argus Leader)

"Berget seeks to partially redeem himself in public and in the minds of his family by accepting his sentence." Jackley wrote in his Response to the US Supreme Court. "It's not Juliet Yackel's place to thwart Berget's wishes."

Yackel has extensive background as a defender in death penalty cases. She represented the former Indiana death candidate Darnell Williams, who was sentenced in 2003 in a nationwide case to a repeal of execution and later turned his sentence into a life without parole.

In response to the State's pleading, Yackel argued that the decision of the Pre-trial Court on Berg's mental abilities was "fundamentally flawed" if early precedents were ignored and Berg's lawyer "gave up his ethical duties as a legal advisor". She added that Berget "lacks the ability to represent herself".

The Bergets are not the first sibling couple to be convicted. In at least three cases, brothers who have plotted to commit both crimes have received the death penalty. But Rodney and Roger Berget are characterized by their crimes being separated by more than 600 miles and 25 years.

"It's kind of a commentary on the family there, in different states in different crimes," said the death penalty information center, which tracks death trend trends, said in 2012.

The younger Berget spent months with his inmate Eric Robert on a plan to kill a prison guard so they could escape or die. They would put a single guard in the corner and whip him with a pipe before covering his face with plastic wrap.

► Sept. 8: The execution of Tennessee detainee was torture, says expert in new lawsuit [19659017] ► August 14: Nebraska is first killed with Fentanyl

When the guard was dead, Robert put on the dead man's uniform and opened a box of Berget as a prison entrance for a daily delivery. The two would slip unnoticed through the walls.

Ron "RJ" Johnson became a lonely target on April 12, 2011, his 63rd birthday. His attackers made it to a gate before another guard stopped them.

Later, Rodney admitted in a statement to a judge that he deserved to die.

"I knew what I was doing, and I kept doing it," Berget said in 2011. "I destroyed a family, I took away a father, a husband, a grandfather."

Met on Monday outside the state jail the delay of execution on mixed reactions. Death penalty demonstrators saw signs of hope, while supporters of capital punishment bristled with legal maneuvers.

► August 9: Tennessee performs Billy Ray Irick, first lethal injection since 2009
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"Incredible," a follower of Berget's execution shouted as another supporter held up a cell phone and signaled that the execution had taken place

with banners and buttons bearing Johnson's picture "The followers, mostly friends of the Johnson family, nervously walked around the front yard of the jail, which was frustrated at seven years late.

On the other hand, more than 30 protesters showed up to testify against the 19th execution in South Dakota. Robert, Berg's accomplice, was killed in 2012 weeks before the recent execution of the state before Monday

► July 18: "I'm not good": Gay man convicted killer dies over lethal injection in Ohio
► July 11: Pharmaceutical company protests against drug use in Nevada execution

Jessie Tewinkel, a niece of Johnson, who has been in jail for 35 years and was at Roberts execution, said her uncle was murdered, but she still does not support the death penalty.

"I think South Dakota is going the wrong way," she said.

Post: Adam Tamburin, The Tennessean; Kristi Eaton, (Sioux Falls, S.D.) Argus Leader; The Associated Press. Follow Danielle Ferguson and Michael Klinski on Twitter: @DaniFergs and @michaelklinski

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Read or parts this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/10/29/rodney-berget-south-dakota-execution/1813862002/