SD High Court Affirms Death Sentence

Jan 9, 2014

Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Briley Piper’s guilty plea in the killing of Chester Allan Poage stands. The South Dakota Supreme Court says Piper can’t take back his admission that he killed a man more than a decade ago. The decision was released Thursday.

South Dakota’s high court has upheld the conviction and death sentence of Briley Piper. The man admitted he was one of the people who tortured and murdered Chester Allan Poage in 2000 in Lawrence County.
Piper was first sentenced to death by a judge after he waived his right to a jury trial. His sentence was overturned. Then a jury re-sentenced him to die.

His attorney argued in March that he should be allowed to reverse his guilty plea because he wasn’t properly advised of the penalty.

Attorney General Marty Jackley says the Supreme Court reviewed the case and affirms Piper’s conviction.

"Piper appealed his plea of guilty did not properly advice him to have his guilt determined by a jury, and the Supreme Court has unanimously disagreed with that," Jackley says.

Jackley says Piper has separate state and federal constitutional claims, but he’s exhausted all direct appeals to his conviction and the sentence of death. Jackley says those appeals must be filed within a year or two, but the process itself can take several years.

The attorney general says, in this opinion, the Supreme Court addressed Piper’s appeal…and automatically reviewed the capital case. 

"This has certainly been as one of the most horrific cases that South Dakota and a family has unfortunately ever experienced, and these facts as outlined by the Supreme Court certainly have been used to justify by our courts the finding of some of the aggravating factors at the trial level," Jackley says.

Three men brutalized and killed Chester Allan Poage more than 13 years ago. Briley Piper is one of them. Elijah Page was sentenced to death for the murder, and he was executed in 2007. Darrel Hoadley received life in prison.