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STURGIS, SOUTH DAKOTA-Briley Piper, who was sentenced by a Jury last week for his part in the slaying of Chester Poage in March of 2000, received an execution date from a South Dakota judge.
Judge Jerome Eckrich set the execution date for the week of March 18th, 2012. It took only minutes for the judge to set the date on the man who admitted to murdering Poage in a bizarre kid-napping plot. He plead guilty to the crime in 2001.
Piper was put before the judge in an orange jumpsuit and flip-flops and appeared relaxed and smiling during the sentencing hearing. Even though a date was set, more than likely, there will be years of appeals before the sentence is carried out.
Piper had already appealed in the case, saying that the sentencing for his crime should have been decided by a jury instead of a judge. The courts agreed, and last week, a jury sentenced him to death after six hours of deliberation. They had decided that the case merited the death sentence because of aggravating circumstances. Aggravating circumstances must be present in order to sentence a man to death in South Dakota.
Piper was returned to his cell at the South Dakota State Penitentiary immediately after his court appearance. He is one of only three on South Dakota’s death row. His execution is scheduled a full 12 years after the murder.