The 56-year-old Rodney Berget was executed on Monday night (local time) in the American state South Dakota by a lethal injection. He was sentenced to death after he murdered jailer Ronald Johnson seven years ago when he failed a prison outbreak. It is the first death sentence since 2012 that is being carried out in this state.
The execution of Berget is controversial. The man would have a great mental retardation. According to a judgment of the Supreme Court, convicts with this condition cannot be executed. Berget, according to his lawyer, met these criteria.
In his youth he participated in the Special Olympics, the Olympic Games for people with a mental handicap. A letter from the Special Olympics not to enforce the verdict, and an ultimate request to the Supreme Court failed. The execution was scheduled for Monday afternoon, but was postponed by the legal application for a few hours. In his last words Berget jokingly referred to the postponement with the words: “sorry for the delay, I was stuck in traffic.”
According to his lawyer, he made a calm impression and thanked several people for their support. He made a peace sign with his left hand. It was the fourth execution of South Dakota since the state reintroduced the death penalty in 1979.