People who witnessed the execution of confessed murderer Eric Robert had the opportunity to speak to local media following Monday night's lethal injection. Robert confessed to killing corrections officer Ronald Johnson during a failed escape attempt at the South Dakota State Penitentiary on April 12, 2011. Robert died the night of October 25, 2012.
The South Dakota Department of Corrections provides news outlets with specific details of the procedure. A D.O.C. spokesperson details the official timeline of the execution. Michael Winder is the Communications and Information Manager. He briefs media on details of the lethal injection.
At the time of the press conference, the final transcript from the execution chamber was not yet available. The verbatim account of everything said within the room is now available at this link.
South Dakota D.O.C. policy permits two media representatives to watch the execution. They are required to recount what they saw to other media outlets following the inmate's death. Below Dave Kolpack with the Associated Press out of Fargo, ND and John Hult with the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls recount their experience as execution witnesses.
Other capital punishment witnesses are invited to speak to members of the media following the execution, but none is forced to address reporters. After the lethal injection of Eric Robert, victim Ron "RJ" Johnson's family stood at the lectern. Johnson's widow, Lynette, speaks in memory of her husband.
The other man who confessed to killing the correctional officer during the foiled escape is appealing his death sentence to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
Tuesday South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley released a letter he received from Eric Robert. Read the letter at this link. Robert was discouraged by a delay in his original execution date in May 2012 and suggests a legal change to the state's top attorney. Jackley says he did not respond directly to Robert, because all of his communications were through Robert's attorney, Mark Kadi.