Alaska man convicted of murder due back in SD court

Posted: Friday, August 21, 2009

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - A convicted killer whose death sentence was overturned by the South Dakota Supreme Court is scheduled to be back in circuit court in Deadwood.

Lawrence County State's Attorney John Fitzgerald said the purpose of the Sept. 1 hearing for 29-year-old Briley Piper is to lay out a schedule for future hearings.

The state Supreme Court last month overturned Piper's death sentence in the killing of 19-year-old Chester Allan Poage in Higgins Gulch near Spearfish in March 2000.

Justices ruled that Piper, of Anchorage, did not completely understand his right to have a jury rather than a judge sentence him for murder. The case was sent back to circuit court to give Piper a chance to have a jury decide his punishment.

Two other men were convicted in Poage's killing. One of them was executed in 2007. The other was sentenced to life in prison.

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