(Image: South Dakota Department of Corrections)
Convicted murderer, Charles Rhines, has been executed by the state of South Dakota despite claims that the sentence received from the jury could have been biased.
Claims have been made that the jury sentenced Charles Rhines unfairly to death because he was gay.
Charles Rhines, 63, from South Dakota was convicted for killing Donnivan Schaeffer, 22, whilst robbing his former workplace on West Main Street in Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1992.
Rhines was brought to death in South Dakota State Penitentiary on November 4th. It has been reported that in his last words, he addressed Donnivan Schaeffer’s parents.
It is thought that Rhines attempted to rob Dig ’Em Donuts when he was interrupted by his 22-year-old co-worker, Donnivan Schaeffer. He then reportedly tied his co-worker up in the storeroom and stabbed him to death. Rhines was found guilty and convicted for first-degree murder before being sentenced to death by a jury.
Up until his death, Rhines claimed that his conviction was made on a biased decision by the jury because of his sexual preference. He believed that the death penalty sentence was picked over life without parole because he was gay.
Rhines’ lawyers wrote petitions in hope of having his sentence reduced to life with parole as they believed that they had sufficient evidence of bias present at Rhines’ sentencing. The appeal paperwork submitted to the Supreme Court in 2017, states that “newly discovered information [had] disclosed that Mr. Rhines’s homosexuality was definitely a focal point of the deliberations.” Rhines even requested that the high court would review his case, but they rejected to do so.
Before his death, Rhines allegedly addressed his victim’s parents, saying “Ed and Peggy Schaeffer, I forgive you for your anger and hatred toward me. I pray to God that he forgives you for your anger and hatred toward me.”
Users on Twitter expressed their opinions on the death penalty that he received with some agreeing that he was sentenced because he was a murderer.
Charles Rhine’s is facing punishment for murder not because of his sexuality. It seems people don’t take note of that.
— ReformedChristian (@5pointChristian) November 4, 2019
Whereas others disagreed, including anti-death penalty activist Helen Prejean.
South Dakota is planning to execute Charles Rhines tomorrow. Charles, a gay man, was sentenced to death by homophobic jurors. They sent him to death row because he is gay. This is unconstitutional and just plain wrong. I’m calling on @govkristinoem to put a stop to this now.
— Sister Helen Prejean (@helenprejean) November 4, 2019