The Latest: About 30 people protest South Dakota execution

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The Latest on South Dakota’s scheduled execution of Charles Russell Rhines in the 1992 slaying of his former co-worker (all times local):


2:15 p.m.

Protesters gathered in snow flurries outside the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls to speak against the execution of a man who killed a former co-worker.

About 30 people prayed and sang hymns in the hour leading up to the scheduled execution of Charles Russell Rhines. It was set for 1:30 p.m. Monday, but the state said it wouldn’t carry out the punishment until the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled on three appeals from Rhines.

Denny Davis, the director of South Dakotans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, says he spoke with Rhines this week. He says Rhines is nervous but has “fought as long as he can.”

Rhines killed 22-year-old Donnivan Schaeffer when Schaeffer interrupted him in the midst of a burglary.

The protesters say they accept that Rhines’ execution will be carried out. They say they want to shift the culture away from the death penalty.

Rhines would be the fifth person executed by South Dakota since it reinstated the death penalty in 1979.


12:20 p.m.

South Dakota officials say the scheduled execution of a man who killed a co-worker at a doughnut shop may be delayed as they await action from the U.S. Supreme Court on three appeals.

Charles Russell Rhines was scheduled to die by lethal injection at 1:30 p.m. Monday for the 1992 slaying of 22-year-old Donnivan Schaeffer in Rapid City.

But the state attorney general’s office said it won’t carry out the execution before the Supreme Court is heard.

Rhines is arguing that the state’s choice of drug doesn’t act quickly enough. He’s also arguing that the jurors in his case gave him the death penalty because he is gay — an argument the high court previously rejected. And he’s arguing he hasn’t been given access to experts to be examined for cognitive and psychiatric impairments.


9:50 a.m.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by a man scheduled to die by lethal injection Monday in the slaying of a former co-worker.

Charles Russell Rhines argued that the state’s choice of drug to be used in his lethal injection does not meet the requirement of being “ultra-short-acting” that was in effect at the time of his conviction.

A circuit judge last week rejected his argument, writing that the pentobarbital South Dakota will use works as fast or faster as other drugs cited by Rhines when used in lethal doses.

The state’s high court agreed.

Rhines immediately appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which already has an appeal by Rhines on other grounds.


5:48 a.m.

A man who stabbed to death a former co-worker who interrupted him during a burglary is set to be executed in South Dakota barring a last-minute stay.

Charles Russell Rhines brushed off a plea for mercy from 22-year-old Donnivan Schaeffer in the 1992 slaying at a Rapid City doughnut shop.

Now 63, Rhines unsuccessfully challenged the execution drug the state plans to use in Monday’s execution in Sioux Falls. He’s appealing that ruling to the state Supreme Court.

Rhines has also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block his execution. He argues that the jury that sentenced him to death had an anti-gay bias. He also argues that the state hasn’t allowed him to be examined for cognitive and psychiatric impairments.

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