Former Moeller prosecutor reflects back on case - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Former Moeller prosecutor reflects back on case

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The story of Becky O'Connell has made an impression on the lives of many here in Sioux Falls.

That includes those who fought for his execution.

KSFY News spoke with the original prosecutor in the case today.

Donald Moeller has been on death row for a little more than 20 years.

And a lot has happened in those two decades.

From computers, cell phones, the Internet and 9/11,  the country has changed, and so has Sioux falls.

Former Lincoln County prosecutor Jeff Masten says he's disappointed it took 22 years to get to this point.

"What's going to happen tonight, seems like it's out of some parallel universe. certainly happened in a different lifetime to me. So I guess, I'm a little bit numb feeling one way or another," Masten said.

One of the strongest memories masten has of the case is seeing Becky O'Connell's body for first time.

"We were pretty well decided that if there hadn't been a justification for a death penalty verdict before in the 20 years preceding in South Dakota, this sure as heck was going to be a death penalty case if we figured out who did it," Masten said.

Masten says the initial days of the case were a nail-biter.

"The thing that kept me up at night, and I think the thing that kept all 20 or so detectives up at night was just there wasn't a witness to the crime. all we had were some scattered circumstantial clues," Masten said.

Masten says he hates what Moeller did to South Dakota society.

It forced parents to keep their children closer to home.

"I think if you talk to any of the police officers or anybody who was actually around with younger children at that time, kids just disappeared off the street. and they certainly disappeared off playgrounds," Masten said.

Despite the crime's effect on the community, Masten holds no personal ill-will towards Moeller

"A long time ago a supreme court justice told me, that you hate the crime, you don't hate the man. I think that was good advice 30 years ago when he gave it to me and is just as good today," Masten said.

Much of Becky's story exists in the minds of people who lived through it.

The memories of Becky's death are as fresh today as they were 22 years ago.

But tonight, the execution of Donald Moeller brings closure for some.

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