FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 25, 2019
CONTACT: Tim Bormann (605) 773-3215
PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg announced today that a Warrant of Execution for Charles Russell Rhines has been issued by Seventh Circuit Court Judge Robert A. Mandel.
Rhines is scheduled to be executed between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m., during the week of November 3rd to the 9th, 2019, inclusive, at a specific time and date which shall be selected by the Warden of the South Dakota State Penitentiary.
Pursuant to South Dakota law, the Warden will announce to the public the scheduled day and hour within forty-eight hours of the execution (SDCL 23A-27A-17). Furthermore, the warden is to request “the presence of the attorney general, the trial judge before whom the conviction was had or the judge’s successor in office, the state’s attorney and sheriff of the county where the crime was committed, representatives of the victims, at least one member of the news media, and a number of reputable adult citizens to be determined by the warden.” (SDCL 23A-27A-34)
In an opening statement to the Court Ravnsborg stated, “I am requesting this warrant on behalf of Donnivan Schaeffer, the Schaeffer family, and the state of South Dakota.”
Rhines was convicted in January of 1993 for the murder of 22-year-old Donnivan Schaeffer, committed during the 1992 burglary of a Rapid City donut shop.
“South Dakota has, historically, sought the death penalty only in the worst, most heinous cases,” said Ravnsborg. “Sadly this is one of those cases as we seek justice for Donnivan and his family.”