FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Wednesday, January 9, 2014
CONTACT: Sara Rabern (605)773-3215
South Dakota Supreme Court Affirms Piper Conviction and Death Sentence
PIERRE, S.D - Today the South Dakota Supreme Court affirmed Briley Wayne Piper’s conviction and capital sentence for the murder of Allan Poage.
Piper pled guilty to murdering Poage in Lawrence County and was sentenced to death. Piper’s death sentence was later overturned and his case was returned to the trial court for a resentencing. Prior to his resentencing, Piper asked to withdraw his guilty plea. Judge Jerome A. Eckrich denied Piper’s request. A jury returned a sentence of death and Piper appealed.
Piper’s appeal to the South Dakota Supreme Court claimed that his plea of guilty was invalid because his attorney did not properly advise him of his right to have his guilt determined by a jury. The South Dakota Supreme Court unanimously decided that Piper entered his guilty plea knowingly and voluntarily. It also found that his death sentence was constitutional.
The South Dakota Supreme Court found that Piper was the ringleader in a plot to rob and murder Poage. One of Piper’s accomplices, Elijah Page, was executed in 2007 for his role in the offense.
“Allan Poage’s family has waited almost 14 years in their search for justice. Affirming the legality of Piper’s conviction puts our criminal justice system a significant step closer to carrying out the jury’s sentence,” said Jackley.
“Piper still has state and federal habeas corpus challenges available to him,” said Jackley.