SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A 49-year-old inmate who pleaded guilty to the April killing of a South Dakota penitentiary guard asked a judge to sentence him to death.
Eric Robert pleaded guilty in September to bashing 63-year-old Ronald "R.J." Johnson with a pipe, covering his mouth with plastic wrap and wearing the dead man's uniform in a failed escape attempt on April 12.
During the third and final day of his pre-sentencing hearing, Robert asked Judge Bradley Zell to give him the death penalty.
Robert had earlier said he wanted to die, but Zell said the state had to prove the death penalty was warranted during the pre-sentencing hearing.
Two other inmates are charged in Johnson's death — 49-year-old Rodney Berget and 47-year-old Michael Nordman. Both have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.