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Supreme Court Denies Berget’s Petition for Rehearing


PIERRE, S.D. (KELO AM) -  The South Dakota Supreme Court has denied Rodney Scott Berget’s petition requesting a new hearing in relation to the murder of Senior Correctional Officer Ronald “ RJ” Johnson. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says Berget sought a rehearing, claiming that the Supreme Court had misunderstood the law as it pertained to his case.

"The Supreme Court has issued a thorough and well-reasoned opinion affirming that the overwhelming majority of the evidence was appropriately considered," said Jackley.  "The single remaining issue surrounding the psychological evaluation may now be ‘conducted on the existing record’."

The Court's ruling affirmed the appropriateness of a death sentence for Berget's crime.  In a 4-1 decision as to one issue, the South Dakota Supreme Court determined that the admission of statements Berget made to a psychiatrist violated Berget's rights against self-incrimination and to confront a potentially adverse witness. The Court has remanded the case to the trial court for a limited re-sentencing on the existing record without reference to the disputed psychiatric report.