We are South Dakotans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty a 501(c)3
South Dakotans Opposed to the Death Penalty a 501(c)4, which is our lobby arm of this organization.
"There is a field beyond our differences; I will meet you there." Rumi
Regularly updated stream of news related to the fight against the death penalty
The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced last week its review of old criminal cases has found as many as 27 death penalty convictions that might have been based on invalid scientific testimony. Read more.
Attorney General Marty Jackley announced the execution of Rodney Berget the week of Jan 12, 2014. Berget plead guilty to the murder of Rodney Johnson, a prison officer, in Sioux Falls. A judge sentenced Berget to death, but the SD Supreme Court overturned the sentence ruling that Circuit Judge Brad Zell improperly considered a statement Berget made to a psychiatrist. Berget then sought a new sentencing hearing in front of a jury. Zell denied that request and resentenced him in May. The exact date of the execution will be determined by the warden of the South Dakota State Penitentiary. (Source: Sioux City Journal)
Jan. 3--The South Dakota Supreme Court has overturned Rodney Berget's death sentence because the judge who sentenced him to die improperly considered a statement made to a psychiatrist. The statement was made during a competency evaluation, and it violated Berget's right to be free from self-incrimination. Berget pled guilty to killing correctional officer Ronald "R.J." Johnson in April of 2011.
Oct. 31 -- Donald Moeller was pronounced dead at 10:24 pm on Tuesday, Oct. 30 2012, making him the 18th person executed in South Dakota history, the 3rd since the death penalty was reinstated in South Dakota in 1977, and the second this year, following Eric Robert two weeks ago (see below). Moeller's last words were reportedly, "Hear my fan club?" referring to the echoes of cheers from SD State Penitentiary inmates as he was put to death beginning at 10:00 pm. South Dakotans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, along with the South Dakota Peace & Justice Center and Pax Christi, held a vigil against capital punishment outside the State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls, SD, where the execution was carried out. Moeller was sentenced to die for the 1990 rape and murder of 9-year-old Becky O'Connell.
Former President Jimmy Carter recently wrote an op-ed supporting the abolition of the death penalty throughout the United States. Carter cites the fact that only 1% of police chiefs think expanding the death penalty would reduce crime. The former president also claims that North Dakota, which does not have the death penalty, has a lower murder rate than our state of South Dakota. He also presents the fact that most prominent Christian denominations support ending the death penalty.
I am Dennis (Denny) Davis, the director for South Dakotans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (SDADP), and South Dakotans Opposed to the Death Penalty (SDODP). SDADP is our 501 (c) (3) organization where donations are tax deductible, and SDODP is our lobbying arm where donations are not tax deductible. I want to personally welcome all who visit this website and encourage you to join us in our work to repeal the Death Penalty in South Dakota. I would like at some point to come to all the districts in South Dakota to speak on the death penalty so please let me know if anyone can host such apresentation in the future. The website has easy access to your representatives or senators. Just click on Representatives and enter your information. Then e-mail or write a letter and share your thoughts.
You can e-mail me any time at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our mailing address is:
PO Box 403
Vermillion, SD 57069
Let us know who you are and we will send you a brochure to join us so we can make South Dakota a
better place to live. The death penalty diminishes us all and we have the means to incarcerate for life
without parole at much less cost both to our pocket books and our consciences. We can all make a
difference here by choosing life instead of state sponsored death. Thank you for caring and making the
choice for life.
Peace and all good,
(Currently being updated)
(Online very soon!)
(Online and ready!)
Elijah Page (executed in 2007, sentenced in 2001)
Eric Robert (executed in 2012, sentenced to death in October of 2011)
Donald Moeller (executed in 2012, originally convicted and sentenced to death in 1992; South Dakota Supreme Court reversed his conviction in 1996; he was re-tried, re-convicted, and re-sentenced to death in 1997)
Charles Rhines (convicted and sentenced in 1992)
Briley Piper (sentenced to death in July of 2011)
Rodney Berget (sentenced to death in February of 2012)
Robert Leroy Anderson (convicted and sentenced to death in 1997; committed suicide in 2003)
James McVay pled guilty but mentally ill on 1-31-12
The jury verdict of guilty of a Capitol crime was on 4-11-14
Sentenced by Judge Lieberman on 5-13-14
McVay found dead in his cell from suicide on 9-4-14
McVay was severely mentally ill and receiving meds in the prison. He was put on work release and while out killed a woman.
I am telling you this because this year we put forth a Severely Mentally Ill bill in the SD Legislature to exempt SMI's from the death penalty and we failed in committee.