Death row inmate seeks new trial


A South Dakota death row inmate who pleaded guilty in a Spearfish torture-murder case wants the state Supreme Court to revisit his plea. Lawyers for Briley Piper argued before the Supreme Court in Sioux Falls Monday, claiming Piper had poor legal advice in his two trials for the March 2000 killing of Chester Poage in Higgins Gulch outside of Spearfish. Piper says he pleaded guilty and waived his right to a jury trial on the advice of counsel and that he didn’t understand the ramifications of the moves; with his attorney arguing that Piper should get a new trial. Assistant attorney general Paul Swedlund told the justices there is no evidence that Piper did not understand his rights. The Supreme Court will issue its ruling on Piper’s arguments at a later date.

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