Tonight (October 15, 2012) at 10:00 PM Eric Robert is scheduled to die by lethal injection at the South Dakota State Penitentiary. During the execution the media will await witness statements in the Ronald J. Johnson training center. The place named for the victim of Robert’s Crime.
Attorney General Marty Jackley has already spoken this morning to the family of Robert “RJ” Johnson. Johnson was murdered during a failed escape attempt last April of 2011. Eric Robert Pled guilty and asked for the death sentence.
“It certainly has been a very difficult process for the victim’s family,” says Jackley. “This trial was in a more open setting with cameras in the courtroom. I think there is recognition publically for what the Johnson family is going through and will have to continue to go through as part of the healing process.”
Many death sentence opponents say tonight’s execution is nothing more than a state assisted suicide. Robert requested the penalty and told the judge he would kill again.
Jackley says both the trial judge and the state supreme court refused to consider state assisted suicide as a factor in the death sentence.
“Rather the consideration was Eric Robert’s criminal activity in both his conduct toward Officer Johnson as well as his conduct in the past as well as the measuring of any mitigating circumstances,” says Jackley. “And that upon review of the case both Judge Zell and the Supreme Court determined that this case is one of those unique cases that justifies and calls out for the death penalty.”
Rodney Berget is also sentenced to die for his part in the murder of RJ Johnson. Jackley says that sentence is currently under review by the South Dakota Supreme Court.