(Reuters) – South Dakota has scheduled a uncommon execution on Monday for a person convicted of the 1992 stabbing dying of a former co-worker at a doughnut store, a sentence that rights advocates mentioned was tainted by jurors who requested doubtlessly homophobic questions.
Charles Rhines, 63, who’s homosexual, was set to be put to dying at 1:30 p.m. CDT (1930 GMT) by deadly injection at South Dakota’s execution chamber in Sioux Falls.
For the reason that U.S. Supreme Courtroom upheld the constitutionally of the dying penalty in 1976, South Dakota has carried out solely 4 executions, together with one final yr. Rhines is considered one of solely three inmates on the state’s dying row.
Jurors discovered Rhines, a highschool dropout who had labored a sequence of wierd jobs, responsible of murdering Donnivan Schaeffer, 22, an worker at Dig ‘Em Donuts in Speedy Metropolis, the place Rhines had additionally labored.
On March eight, 1992, lower than a month after Rhines left the doughnut store, he broke into the shop, however was interrupted by Schaeffer.
Schaeffer’s physique was discovered along with his fingers sure and stab wounds in his stomach, higher again and again of the neck, in keeping with court docket paperwork. About $three,300 in money and checks had been lacking, they mentioned.
A jury convicted Rhines of the crimes in January 1993 and sentenced him to dying 4 days later.
A number of teams, together with the American Civil Liberties Union and gay-rights advocacy group Lambda Authorized, unsuccessfully urged a U.S. appeals court docket in an amicus temporary final yr to permit Rhines to argue that bias primarily based on his sexual orientation motivated the jury to condemn him to dying.
Throughout their deliberations, some jurors expressed anti-gay sentiments, with one saying that Rhines “shouldn’t be capable of spend his life with males in jail,” the teams mentioned.
Whereas they deliberated his destiny, the jury despatched the trial choose a word asking a number of questions on a doable life sentence, together with whether or not Rhines could be allowed to combine with fellow male inmates, have a cell mate and have conjugal visits, the court docket famous in its August 2018 opinion.
Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Modifying by David Gregorio