PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – The South Dakota State Supreme Court has rejected the latest appeals by Briley Piper, the state’s last remaining death row inmate.
Piper was given the death penalty in 2001 for the torture murder a year earlier of 18-year old Chester Allan Poage in a canyon outside Spearfish.
A second defendant, Elijah Page, has already been executed and a third man, Darrell Hoadley, is serving a sentence of life without parole.
Piper’s original death sentence was overturned after the U-S Supreme Court ruled that it must be a jury that imposes death, but a Pennington County jury in 2011 unanimously agreed death was the appropriate penalty.
Piper challenged the resentencing proceedings, arguing his original guilty pleas were not done voluntarily and intelligently, and that he had inadequate legal counsel during his first change of plea hearing and during his jury resentencing.
The state Supreme Court this week said it found no constitutional issues to support reversing the verdict.
Lawrence County State’s Attorney John Fitzgerald is pleased that all of Piper’s appeals in state court have ended, but he expects more appeals at the federal level.