PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that Circuit Court Judge Hoffman has ordered Berget’s counsel to submit a report addressing whether Berget is mentally disabled before further ruling on State’s Motion to Dismiss. In September 2016, Berget told the court he did not want to appeal his case any further. The State filed a motion to dismiss.

“It remains the State’s position that due process has been satisfied. Testing from throughout Berget’s life shows that he is a person of at least ordinary intelligence meeting both federal and state competency requirements. This is a serious and tragic matter, and the state will continue its efforts to move these proceedings forward in a timely fashion,” said Jackley.

On February 6, 2012, Berget was sentenced to death for the 2011 killing of Senior Corrections Officer Ronald ‘RJ’ Johnson during a failed attempt to escape from the Sioux Falls Penitentiary. Berget was serving a life sentence for attempted murder and an additional life sentence for raping a convenience store clerk. Berget had engaged in countless escape attempts  in the  past.

In January of 2013, The South Dakota Supreme Court affirmed 11 issues, including    the appropriateness of the death sentence for Berget’s crime. However, the Court reversed the original sentence because the admission of statements Berget made to a psychiatrist violated Berget’s right against self-incrimination and remanded the case to the trial court for a limited re-sentencing and the opportunity for Berget to call the psychiatrist as a witness. At the re-sentencing, Berget did not call the psychiatrist as a witness but sought to introduce alleged new evidence regarding his family as   mitigation against a new death sentence. The trial court again sentenced Berget to   death by lethal injection.

Berget appealed from the trial court’s re-imposition of a death sentence claiming that the Court should have opened up the record to take additional evidence. The South Dakota Supreme Court rejected Berget’s appeal, citing the fact that Berget had a full opportunity to present all his desired mitigating evidence at his original sentencing. Berget petitioned the South Dakota Supreme Court to rehear his appeal, which the court denied in an order issued October 17, 2014. In March 2015, the United States Supreme Court denied Berget’s petition Writ of Certiorari.



  1. Anonymous

    Did he really need a press release about this. Does he have a full time state employee to write this crap? If he does it’s a waste of tax payers dollars.

      1. Anonymous

        His advisors need to tell him to stop putting out press releases all the time. This isn’t news.

    1. Anonymous

      This is some of the most groundbreaking news I’ve heard in a while I’m glad Jackley has the time to put out press releases like this.

  2. Anonymous

    Matt Michels will pull away much of Jackley’s support. Marty has too much baggage and should not be running. He’s going finish in 3rd place.

  3. Anonymous

    Marty would be better off running for congress against Dusty Johnson. He’s in over his head in this governor’s race. Noem and Matt Michels are very strong candidates.

    1. Anonymous

      Dusty Johnson was 40 years old before he took a job in the private sector for a year and a half before bailing to run for congress. Thune’s people should not be backing him. Jackley would easily win.

      1. Anonymous

        Other than a couple Tars and donors who go to the governors hunts I don’t know anyone who even knows who he is. You have to be in the weeds to know.

  4. Anonymous

    I agree, Jackley has too much baggage and should save the Republican Party from having to look unprincipled.

      1. Marty Capone

        Marty Capone would be the worst possible choice for Governor for South Dakota all he’s done is cover up his crony capitalists corrupt politicians!

  5. grudznick

    Jackley needs to quit being such a suck-ass self-back-patter and go stop on this marsey law nonesense. We don’t want a Governor Suck Ass.

    1. Anonymous

      His campaign manager used millions of out of state money to pass Marsy’s Law while AG Jackley writes the ballot measure opinions.

  6. Anonymous

    Jackley puts out press releases with no substance. How about a AG Jackley press release that he’s convicted someone on EB5 or Gear Up.

  7. Anonymous

    Jackley will win against Noem. Michels would make it interesting but I see voters choosing Jackley

    1. Anonymous

      I don’t think Marty stands a chance against Matt Michels. Marty has no accomplishments just cover ups.

      1. Anonymous

        I’m trying to figure out the last time a congress person in SD was elected governor. Might never have happened before for a reason.

      2. Anonymous

        I don’t think Michels wants to run but I think he is a great candidate. Marty will most likely win.

    2. Kelly Lieberg

      And the moderator is out to lunch ! No mention of the word Govenor in the release. Rules vary..

  8. Draft Matt

    I encourage others to make phone calls and write letters to Matt Michels as a show of support and a plea for him to run for Governor.

  9. Anonymous

    Matt Michels has a great story that I think the voters will like to hear. Marty was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and that doesn’t relate in South Dakota.