FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, April 15, 2019
CONTACT: Tim Bormann (605) 773-3215
PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg announced that the United States Supreme Court has once again denied an appeal by 62-year-old death row inmate Charles Russell Rhines alleging that he was sentenced to death because jurors were biased based on his sexual orientation.
In January of 1993, a Pennington County Jury convicted and sentenced Rhines to death for the murder of 22-year-old Donnivan Schaeffer, committed during the 1992 burglary of a Rapid City donut shop. The evidence at trial included Rhines’ confession to the murder. In October of 2018, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Rhines’ petition for rehearing, prompting the request for a review by the United States Supreme Court that bias on the part of the jury should allow the capital sentence to be set aside. This marks the second time the United States Supreme Court has denied Rhines’ appeal.
“This decision moves this case just that much closer to justice for Donnivan Schaeffer and his family,” said Ravnsborg. “The jurors conducted their deliberations fully aware of the full ramifications of their decision and with the knowledge that defendants should be punished for the crime they committed and not for who they are.”