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South Dakota refuses to reveal the drug to be used in execution

SIOUX FALLS, S. D. – South Dakota’s Corrections Department is refusing to make public the specific lethal injection drugs it will use in the scheduled implementation this fall of a man who admitted to killing a prison guard.

A spokesman of the ministry said in an e-mail this week that the disclosure would tend to identify the implementation of the drug supplier, that state law is reserved. Lawmakers in 2013 approved for the protection of the shielding of the identity of those who supply the lethal injection drugs.

Department of Corrections Secretary Denny Kaemingk said in a statement that the department plans to use a “one-drug-protocol” in the execution of Rodney Berget. Agency policy dictates the drug would be sodium thiopental or pentobarbital, both of which are barbiturates.

Kaemingk said the department has the drugs to carry out Berget, but cited the confidentiality laws in declining to provide more information about the drug. South Dakota is one of the last two executions were in 2012, and have used pentobarbital.

Corrections Department spokesman Michael Winder said in the e-mail that the agency is not willing to release the information “at this time.” Tony Venhuizen, chief of staff to Gov. Dennis Daugaard, said in an e-mail that the ministry is preparing to carry out Berget’s sentence, and that more details will be released as the plans are completed.

Berget is scheduled to be killed between Oct. 28 Nov. 3. The warden of the prison, will choose the specific time and date, which will be announced within 48 hours of the execution.

Berget pleaded guilty in 2012 to killing Ronald “R. J.” Johnson in a failed 2011 prison escape attempt with fellow inmate Eric Robert, who was one of the two men, the state run in 2012. Berget, in 2016, appealed his death sentence, but later asked to withdraw the appeal against the advice of his lawyers.

“I want this to be the last day that I appear before the judge,” said Berget in September 2016 hear.

A lawyer for Berget declined to comment Friday to The Associated Press. The last execution in South Dakota was the lethal injection of Donald Moeller on Oct. 30, 2012, for the killing of Becky O’connell.

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