SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - A Sturgis judge, Jerome Eckrich, has been appointed to handle the re-sentencing trial of an Alaska man for a 2000 torture murder of an acquaintance.
Judge Warren Johnson of Deadwood sentenced Briley Piper of Anchorage, Alaska, and Elijah Page of Athens, Texas, to death after they pleaded guilty to killing Chester Allan Poage of Spearfish. Page ended his appeals and was executed in 2007.
A third man, Darrell Hoadley of Lead, pleaded not guilty and was convicted by a jury, which sentenced him to life in prison.
Piper appealed and the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that a jury - not Johnson - should have decided if Piper got life in prison or death by lethal injection.
In response to a defense request, Johnson recused himself and Eckrich was assigned.
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