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(SD)-Hours Later Than Scheduled, Rhines Executed For Brutal 1992 Rapid City Murder

By: John Axtell Posted at: 11/04/2019 11:30 PM
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -   It came more than 7-hours later than scheduled, but 63-year old Charles Russell Rhines of Rapid City was executed yesterday at the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls - the the fifth person put to death by South Dakota since the death penalty was reinstated in 1979.

     The death by lethal injection for the fatal stabbing of a former co-worker during the robbery of a Rapid City donut shop in 1992 had had been scheduled for 1:30 CT, but was delayed until the U-S Supreme Court rejected the final 3 appeals by Rhines.

     One of the appeals, that the state's choice of drug for the lethal injection doesn't act quickly enough, had been denied in the morning by the South Dakota Supreme Court and immediately taken to the federal court to be considered along with 2 earlier challenges.

     One of those was that during his more than 25 years on death row he hadn't been given access to experts to be examined for cognitive and psychiatric impairments. The other was that Rhines was given the death penalty because he is gay and the jurors were biased against homosexuals - an argument the high court had previously rejected.
 
    Defense attorney Shawn Nolan called it "very sad and profoundly unjust" that Rhines was executed without a court hearing on evidence of what he called gay bias influencing the jury's death sentence, but an investigator in the case said the jury reacted to Rhines' chilling confession, not his sexuality.

         Media witnesses said Rhines used his last words to speak to the parents of his victim, Donnivan Schaeffer, who was 22 when he was killed. Rhines told Ed and Peggy Schaeffer that "I forgive you for your anger and hatred towards me."
 
     The Schaeffers said they wanted to talk about their son, not Rhines, and were "so blessed to have this young man in our family and in our life."
 
     South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg also focused on Schaeffer rather than Rhines, saying he was "funny, kind and a hard worker" who loved hunting and fishing, and who was engaged to be married and had a bright future awaiting him after he was to finish Western Dakota Tech.

        Schaeffer was delivering supplies when he was ambushed by Rhines, who was burglarizing the doughnut shop that had fired him and few weeks earlier and where Schaeffer still worked.

      Schaeffer was stabbed in the stomach and the back, then - as he begged to be taken to a hospital - was forced into a storeroom, tied up and killed when Rhines shoved the knife blade into the spinal column at the base of the neck.


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