Supreme Court remands Rodney Berget's death sentence - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Victim's family stays strong as Supreme Court remands Rodney Berget's death sentence

Posted: Updated:

The South Dakota Supreme Court has reversed the death penalty sentence for Rodney Berget. 

Berget is the second man convicted in the murder of Corrections officer Ron Johnson.   

While the Supreme Court found most of the Circuit Court's sentencing to be constitutionally affirmed, there was one issue that prevented the case from moving forward. 

It's just another road bump in the long journey of court trials Officer Johnson's wife and family have to endure. 

"It'll be two years...doesn't seem like that," said Officer Johson's wife of 35 years, Lynette Johnson. 

Officer Johnson was murdered when Berget and fellow inmate Eric Robert attempted to escape. 

"I still go to bed at night and wake up the next morning thinking of what happened to Ron, that can't happen to anyone else," said Johnson. 

Robert's death sentence was carried out in October, but Berget's sentencing hearing is held up on one issue. 

"When you're talking about the ultimate penalty, any constitutional error is considered significant as long as it prejudiced the defendants rights and the Supreme Court held that it did," said Ron Parsons, the head of the Appellate Department at the Sioux Falls law firm of Johnson, Heidepriem & Abdallah. 

The issue is statements Berget made during a psychiatric evaluation prior to the trial. 

"As part of that agreement, the state agreed that that document and the evidence created by that report would be sealed," said Parsons. 

However, those statements were entered into evidence during the sentencing hearing, making the Supreme Court decide the sentencing process should be re-done.

"Essentially the defendant is entitled to be sentenced again without any preconceptions about what that sentence will be," said Parsons.

Berget remains in the State Penitentiary until a new sentence in delivered; however, the result could be exactly the same. 

"All the options that were available at the first sentencing hearing are on the table for the second hearing, including life without the possibility of parole and the death penalty," said Parsons. 

But Johnson's wife is hoping for the same sentence. 

"It has to, it has to…this just can't ever happen to another correctional officer, it just can't," said Johnson. 

Attorney General Marty Jackley says he will be requesting one hearing date to allow Berget's attorney to address the psychological issue in question and to re-sentence Berget. 

Jackley says there is still some possibility for Berget to appeal again; however, he says the Supreme court has already affirmed the major issues required for a death sentence.

  • Owning Your Outdoors: Tree Care

    Owning Your Outdoors: Tree Care

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:36 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:36:12 GMT
    Doug says that the natural crown line of a tree should be easy to identify.Doug says that the natural crown line of a tree should be easy to identify.
    There are a number of reasons to prune and crown trees. Trees can grow to close to buildings, power lines or sidewalks and become a hazard. Trees can also be crowned and pruned to make them cosmetically more appealing.More >>
    There are a number of reasons to prune and crown trees. Trees can grow to close to buildings, power lines or sidewalks and become a hazard. Trees can also be crowned and pruned to make them cosmetically more appealing.More >>
  • Flooded Luverne farmer gets second chance

    Flooded Luverne farmer gets second chance

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:01 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:01:48 GMT
    The flooding in Luverne over Father's Day weekend left a lot of homes and parks flooded.  It also flooded a lot of farmland. Just a couple days after the heavy rain, KSFY spoke to an area farmer who lost most of his crops. We check back in with one farmerThe flooding in Luverne over Father's Day weekend left a lot of homes and parks flooded. It also flooded a lot of farmland. Just a couple days after the heavy rain, KSFY spoke to an area farmer who lost most of his crops. We check back in with one farmer
    The flooding in Luverne over Father's Day weekend left a lot of homes and parks flooded.  It also flooded a lot of farmland. Just a couple days after the heavy rain, KSFY spoke to an area farmer who lost most of his crops. We check back in with one farmer.More >>
    The flooding in Luverne over Father's Day weekend left a lot of homes and parks flooded.  It also flooded a lot of farmland. Just a couple days after the heavy rain, KSFY spoke to an area farmer who lost most of his crops. We check back in with one farmer.More >>
  • Mendota Heights officer killed in West St. Paul shooting

    Mendota Heights officer killed in West St. Paul shooting

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:34 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:34:05 GMT
    KSTP News confirms a Mendota Heights police officer was shot and killed during a traffic stop on Dodd Road near Smith Avenue in West. St. Paul around noon Wednesday.More >>
    KSTP News confirms a Mendota Heights police officer was shot and killed during a traffic stop on Dodd Road near Smith Avenue in West. St. Paul around noon Wednesday.More >>
  • Driver arrested in morning Sioux Falls hit and run

    Driver arrested in morning Sioux Falls hit and run

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:52 PM EDT2014-07-30 16:52:33 GMT
    Sioux Falls Police identified the driver charged in this morning's SUV into house accident as 31 year old Shawn Essem, the SUV slammed into a house, nearly hitting a woman inside. More >>
    Sioux Falls Police identified the driver charged in this morning's SUV into house accident as 31 year old Shawn Essem, the SUV slammed into a house, nearly hitting a woman inside. 
    More >>
  • Effort aims for no fatalities on I-90, I-94

    Effort aims for no fatalities on I-90, I-94

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:06 AM EDT2014-07-30 14:06:07 GMT
    Law enforcement agencies in the Dakotas are joining counterparts in 13 other states in a four-day interstate enforcement campaign on Interstates 90 and 94.More >>
    Law enforcement agencies in the Dakotas are joining counterparts in 13 other states in a four-day interstate enforcement campaign on Interstates 90 and 94.More >>
  • Stickney, Corsica school districts to consolidate

    Stickney, Corsica school districts to consolidate

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:04 AM EDT2014-07-30 14:04:41 GMT
    Voters in Stickney and Corsica have overwhelmingly voted to consolidate their school districts.More >>
    Voters in Stickney and Corsica have overwhelmingly voted to consolidate their school districts.More >>
  • Sioux City riverboat casino prepares for last day

    Sioux City riverboat casino prepares for last day

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 9:20 AM EDT2014-07-30 13:20:25 GMT
    The Argosy riverboat casino is preparing to take its last bets Wednesday, having told the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission that it will close by 5 p.m. as ordered.More >>
    The Argosy riverboat casino is preparing to take its last bets Wednesday, having told the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission that it will close by 5 p.m. as ordered.More >>
  • South Dakota task force to study child sex abuse

    South Dakota task force to study child sex abuse

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:44 AM EDT2014-07-30 10:44:45 GMT
    A South Dakota task force will study the sexual abuse of children and recommend ways to address the issue.More >>
    A South Dakota task force will study the sexual abuse of children and recommend ways to address the issue.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KSFY. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service or our EEO Report.