A look back in history with executions in South Dakota - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

A look back in history with executions in South Dakota

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Capital punishment in South Dakota extends back into the late 1800s. Since then, the state has put 16 prisoners to death by way of hanging, the electric chair and now, lethal injection.

We take a closer look at the history behind executions in South Dakota as we are about to add one more person to that list.

Over the last six decades, the state has only executed two inmates. Dan Brosz with the state's Historical Society says those numbers say something about our state.

"We live in a state where we don't see a lot of crime, it doesn't surprise me that we'd go that long between executions," Dan Brosz said.

He shared with KSFY a unique piece of history: an electric chair dating back to 1947 when one electric shock to the head put George Sitts to death on April 8th.

It was built by inmates at the state penitentiary and only used once.

"When things like this do take place, having that artifact to bring that history to the people of South Dakota, it's a pretty important thing," Brosz said.

From the electric chair, hangings and now, by law, only lethal injections, Brosz says times have certainly changed.

"Those were certainly not painless ways to go out, we know how bad it hurts to get shocked. With lethal, it's much different. Growing trend now is becoming more of a civil society," Brosz said.

Monday night will mark the second death by lethal injection and 17th execution in state's history.

"Time will tell how significant it will be but it certainly has its place in history," Brosz said

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