Court hears appeal from Alaskan on death row

Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2009

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Supreme Court will hear a second appeal later this month in Alaskan Briley Piper's attempt to avoid the death penalty for the 2000 torture slaying of a Spearfish man.

Arguments will be heard April 28 in an appeal that argues Piper did not get a fair chance to have a jury, instead of a judge, determine his sentence after he pleaded guilty to the murder. Circuit Judge Warren G. Johnson of Deadwood sentenced Piper to death for the brutal beating, torture and slaying of Chester Poage.

The appeal asks that Piper's sentence be changed to life in prison or that he get a new appeal that would focus on whether his agreement to let the judge sentence him was valid.

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