Officials: Donald Moeller to be executed Tuesday

2012-10-27T20:00:00Z Officials: Donald Moeller to be executed TuesdayThe Associated Press The Associated Press
October 27, 2012 8:00 pm  • 

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. | A man convicted in the 1990 slaying of a 9-year-old girl is set to die by lethal injection Tuesday, the state Department of Corrections announced Saturday.

The execution of Donald Moeller, 60, will be the second within a month in a state where executions are rare. Moeller's will bring to 18 the number of executions in the state or Dakota Territory since 1877, and just the fourth since 1913.

Moeller is scheduled be executed at approximately 10 p.m. Tuesday at the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls, the same site of Eric Robert's Oct. 15 lethal injection.

Moeller's attorney, Mark Marshall, declined comment on Saturday. Attorney General Marty Jackley did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment.

Authorities say Moeller kidnapped Becky O'Connell from a Sioux Falls convenience store, drove her to a secluded area near the Big Sioux River, then raped and killed her. Her naked body was found the next day; she had been stabbed and her throat was slashed.

The girl's mother, Tina Curl, plans to drive with her husband to Sioux Falls from New York state to witness the execution.

Moeller fought his conviction and sentence for years, but in July he said he was ready to accept death as the consequence of his actions.

"The law has spoken," Moeller said at an Oct. 4 hearing. "I killed. I deserve to be killed."

Moeller initially was convicted in 1992, but the state Supreme Court overturned it, ruling that improper evidence was used at trial. He was again convicted and sentenced to die in 1997.

The state Supreme Court affirmed the sentence, and Moeller lost appeals on both the state and federal levels.

But even as Moeller has insisted he's ready to die, a flurry of motions have been filed on his behalf to stop the execution over his protests.

Earlier this month, a federal judge dismissed a pending suit challenging South Dakota's execution protocol after Moeller insisted he wanted no part of it. Moeller also distanced himself from a motion filed by a woman with loose family ties who argued that his decades in solitary confinement have made him incapable of voluntarily accepting his fate.

South Dakota has carried out death sentences just three times since the 1913 hanging of Joseph Rickman for the murder of a woman and her daughter.

George Sitts was electrocuted in 1947 for killing two law enforcement officers, and Elijah Page died by lethal injection in 2007 for the murder of Chester Allan Poage.

On Oct. 15, Eric Robert was put to death for killing South Dakota prison guard Ronald "R.J." Johnson during a failed escape attempt.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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