The officer who was killed in the failed escape attempt at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in April 2011, Ronald "RJ" Johnson is being remembered today and every day by the people who loved him the most -- his family.
Lynette Johnson will be watching the execution along with her two children and their spouses Monday night. When we asked how she's feeling about tonight's execution she said she's only thinking about Ron.
We sat down with Lynette Johnson as we are now hours from the execution of Eric Robert, the inmate who admitted to killing Lynette's husband.
"The execution is what needs to be to keep our correctional officers safe," Johnson said.
And the execution is set to happen in this room, on this bed at 10 p.m. Monday.
"He gets to lay on a mattress and gets to just go to sleep. That is not what my husband got," Lynette Johnson said.
In a failed escape attempt back in April 2011, Ronald "RJ" Johnson was the correctional officer on duty when Robert and another inmate, Rodney Berget hit Johnson over the head with a lead pipe and put plastic wrap over his face to suffocate him. They also took off his uniform so they could wear it to escape.
"It's like yesterday it happened but it's like years he has been gone," Johnson said.
As you can imagine this has been more than difficult for the Johnson's. Lynette said she heard Robert got to say good-bye to his mother and that doesn't sit well with her.
"What I would give to be able to say one more time how much we love him. To say good-bye again. He got that. He robbed us of that," Johnson said.
As the family will be watching the execution, Lynette says she'll be thinking about Ron -- a family man who was taken way too soon.
"The focus has been on the execution, how he (Robert) lived, who he (Robert) was. Let's think about who he (Robert) terrorized and the lives he destroyed and the reason he is behind bars," Johnson said.
Robert's lawyer sent out a statement over the weekend saying the 50-year-old is reflecting on the situation and "trying to make peace with himself and God."
We asked Lynette about that, she says she doesn't believe a word he (Robert) says.
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