SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A South Dakota inmate who killed a correctional officer seven years ago during a failed prison escape on the guard’s 63rd birthday was put to death Monday evening, marking the state’s first execution since 2012.
Rodney Berget, 56, received a lethal injection of an undisclosed drug for the 2011 slaying of Ronald “R.J.” Johnson, who was beaten with a pipe and had his head covered in plastic wrap at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls. Berget’s execution was the state’s fourth since it reinstituted the death penalty in 1979.
It originally was to be carried out at 1:30 p.m. CDT, but was delayed for hours while the U.S. Supreme Court weighed a last-minute legal bid to block it. Berget joked in his last words about the wait, saying, “Sorry for the delay, I got caught in traffic.”