Death penalty to remain in South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D.(KELO)- Emotional testimony in Pierre Thursday as lawmakers considered repealing the state’s death penalty(SB109).

Supporters of the move question whether it deters violent crime.

Opponents, including prosecutors and law enforcement, say it’s the only deterring factor for people to consider if they’re already facing a life prison term.

The widow of prison guard Ron R-J Johnson, who was killed by two prisoners serving life terms, made an impassioned plea to keep the death penalty on the books.

Bill sponsor, Senator Reynold Nesiba of Sioux Falls, rebutted by saying Johnson’s death was a failure of security at the prison…arguing the death penalty didn’t stop the crime.

In a sharply divided vote, the committee sent the bill to the 41st day of the legislative session…which effectively kills it.