SD Supreme Court Denies Rhines’ motion to stay execution

PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg announced today that the South Dakota Supreme Court has denied Charles Russell Rhines’ motion to stay his execution and also has affirmed the dismissal of his challenge to the written policy of the South Dakota Department of Corrections.

Rhines, 63, was convicted in 1993 for brutally murdering 22 year-old Donnivan Schaeffer during a burglary of a Rapid City donut shop on March 8, 1992.

Rhines had asked a judge to force the state to follow the law on lethal injections at the time he was sentenced to death in 1993, when a protocol of an ultra-short-acting lethal drug and a chemical paralytic were used.

In a complaint filed this week, attorneys for Rhines argued that pentobarbital is not an ultra-short-acting barbiturate and that by using it, the state is violating Rhines’ right to choose his manner of execution and his right to due process. Rhines had asked a judge to stop his November execution until his request is decided.

Rhines wanted to be injected with an ultra-short-acting barbiturate, such as sodium methohexital, sodium thiamylal or sodium thiopental, along with a chemical paralytic, rather than pentobarbital, according to the complaint.

“These decisions by the South Dakota Supreme Court brings us two steps closer to both justice and closure for the family of Donnivan Schaeffer,” said Ravnsborg. “Donnivan’s life was savagely ended by Charles Rhines, who has now been on death row for 5 years more than Donnivan lived. We continue to seek justice for Donnivan. It is time for this process to be over so the family can heal.”

Categories: Crime, Local News, South Dakota News