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Attorney General Jason R. Ravnsborg

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United States Court of Appeals Affirms Rhines’ Conviction and Capital Sentence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Friday, August 3, 2018  
CONTACT:  Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215   

PIERRE, S.D. - Attorney General Marty Jackley announces the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Judicial Circuit has affirmed Charles Russell Rhines’ conviction and death sentence for the murder of 22 year-old Donnivan Schaeffer in Rapid City on March 8, 1992.

“The Federal Circuit Court’s ruling affirms that Charles Russell Rhines’ murder conviction and capital sentence are appropriate and constitutional.  This case is now one step closer to justice for Donnivan Schaeffer and his family,” 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.

Rhines has the right to ask the full Federal Circuit Court to reconsider its decision and to petition the United States Supreme Court to hear his appeal.