Inmate pleads guilty in SD prison guard killing

AP News
Posted: Nov 17, 2011 6:33 PM
Inmate pleads guilty in SD prison guard killing

A second inmate accused of killing a South Dakota prison guard during an escape attempt has changed his plea to guilty.

Forty-nine-year-old Rodney Berget pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree murder.

Authorities say Berget and another inmate, 49-year-old Eric Robert, attacked and killed corrections officer Ronald Johnson on April 12 in a work area at the South Dakota State Penitentiary and used his uniform as they tried to escape. It was Johnson's 63rd birthday.

Berget said in court that he planned to steal a uniform a day earlier, but there were too many people around. Both inmates were apprehended before leaving the grounds.

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Katie Pavlich

Berget said he understood that by pleading guilty, he could face the death penalty. Robert changed his plea to guilty in September and was sentenced to death.