(SD)-Death Row Inmate Objecting To Choice Of Lethal Injection Drug
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A South Dakota death row inmate from Rapid City facing execution next month is objecting to the state's choice of lethal drug to use on him.
The state intends to use pentobarbital, commonly used to euthanize animals, but 63-year-old Charles Russell Rhines wants the state to follow the lethal injection law that was in place when he was sentenced to death in 1993 for killing an employee while burglarizing a Rapid City donut shop.
Attorneys for Rhines argue in a complaint filed Tuesday that by using pentobarbital, the state is violating his right to choose his manner of execution and his right to due process. The state has not filed a written response and a hearing is set for next Tuesday.
Rhines was convicted of the 1992 brutal stabbing death of 22-year-old employee Donnivan Schaeffer while Rhines burglarized the donut shop which had fired him just a few months earlier.
Rhines stabbed Schaeffer in the chest and the back before taking him to another part of the store and using his knees to hold Schaeffer's head before plunging the knife blade into the spinal column at the base of the neck.
Gay rights activists last year blasted Rhines receiving the death penalty, citing jury questions and statements by some jurors that the activists felt showed a bias against Rhines and for the death penalty because he was homosexual.
The jury statements had been considered by the South Dakota Supreme Court in a 1995 appeal by Rhines, with the high court ruling they did not indicate prejudice by the jury.
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