Judge upholds death sentence for donut shop murderer
Attorney General Marty Jackley announced Wednesday that Circuit Court Judge Thomas L. Trimble affirmed the conviction and death sentence of Charles Russell Rhines.
In January of 1993, a Pennington County Jury convicted and sentenced Rhines to death for the murder of Donnivan Schaeffer committed during the burglary of a Rapid City donut shop. The evidence at trial included Rhines' confession to the murder.
After the South Dakota and United States Supreme Court affirmed Rhines' conviction in 1996, Rhines filed state petitions for habeas corpus in 1996 and again in 2002. In 2012, the South Dakota Legislature enacted SB 42 to place reasonable restrictions on repeat habeas corpus appeals and filings. Rhines' pending petition filed prior to SB 42 is still reviewable by the South Dakota Supreme Court and the federal courts.
"The Schaeffer family has waited more than 20 years for justice in their son's case," said Attorney General Jackley. "The Trial Court's ruling is an important step in holding Rhines accountable for his horrific actions to the Schaeffers and the community."
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