Rounds stops Page execution

Rounds stops Page execution
Gov. Mike Rounds stopped the planned Aug. 29 execution of Elijah Page because of a technicality he and legal experts discovered at the last minute.

South Dakota law requires two drugs be used to kill a death row inmate, but the current national practice is to use three drugs. Rounds said he was concerned that state employees involved could be in jeopardy of administering an illegal execution if three drugs were used.

"I will not have the individuals responsible for carrying out the execution placed in the position where they could be in violation of (state statute) for not carrying out the execution as provided by the laws of this state," Rounds said.

The state scheduled Page's execution for 10 p.m. Aug. 29. Rounds held a press conference announcing the stay at 5:50 p.m. Media outlets confirmed the stay of execution shortly after 5 p.m. following notice of the impending press conference.

Rounds said the stay would allow state lawmakers to examine the statutes governing executions and make any changes they feel necessary during the next legislative session. Page's execution was delayed until after July 1, 2007 when most laws passed by the Legislature go into effect.

Page had asked that the appeals process in his case be stopped and his execution scheduled. He had the option of stopping the execution at any point before the needle was placed in his arm.

Page of Athens, TX was sentenced to death for the 2000 murder of Chester Allan Poage of Spearfish. Briley Piper and Darrell Hoadley were convicted of the same crime. Piper is also on death row while Hoadley received a life sentence without parole.

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