FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Tuesday, February 16, 2016
CONTACT: Sara Rabern (605)773-3215
Federal Court Denies Rhines’ Petition to Overturn Conviction and Capital Sentence
PIERRE, S.D. - Attorney General Marty Jackley announces the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota has denied Charles Russell Rhines’ petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Rhines’ petition sought to overturn his conviction and death sentence for the murder of 22-year-old Donnivan Schaeffer in Rapid City on March 8, 1992.
“The Federal Court’s ruling affirms that Charles Russell Rhines’ murder conviction and capital sentence are appropriate and constitutional. My thoughts and prayers are with Donnivan Schaeffer’s family, who have waited 24 years for justice in this case,” said Jackley.
A Pennington County jury convicted Rhines of first degree murder in 1993 and returned a sentence of death. Rhines’ conviction and death sentence were affirmed on direct appeal by the South Dakota Supreme Court in 1996. Rhines then challenged his conviction and sentence in state and federal habeas corpus proceedings.
With the conclusion of his federal habeas corpus proceedings, Rhines has the right to appeal the District Court’s decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit and, ultimately, to the United States Supreme Court.