The state of South Dakota has carried out a death sentence against a convicted murderer. 63-year-old Charles Rhines died after receiving a lethal injection in Sioux Falls Prison.
It is the 18th American execution this year and the first in South Dakota since 2018.
Rhines was convicted of murder in 1992. In May of that year he stabbed a donut shop employee. The then 22-year-old Donnivan Schaeffer had surprised Rhines when he entered the restaurant. A jury sentenced Rhines to death in January 1993.
South Dakota Corrections Department / AFP
Undated photo of Charles Rhines: "If he is gay, we would send him where he wants to go."
Shortly before the execution, three appeals had been lodged with the Supreme Court of the United States, all rejected. The Reno lawyers asked the court to review the evidence. Rhines was gay – this would have known the members of the jury. They would have sentenced him to death, otherwise he could have enjoyed life in prison with other men.
The lawyers also released corresponding comments. According to the New York Times, a member of the jury said: "If he is gay, we would send him where he wants to go." Similarly, according to a female colleague.
The Supreme Court rejected the motion without comment. One of the lawyers, Rhines, said that it was sad and profoundly unfair to run Rhines without seeing evidence of discrimination against homosexuals that would influence the jury's decision.
Before his death, Rhines told the parents of the victim that he forgave them for their anger and anger. He prayed to God to forgive them too. So he thanked his supporters. His last words were: "Let's start, this is all I have to say, goodbye".
The victim's family spoke after the execution in front of journalists. Relatives made it clear that they did not want to say a word about the author. "Today is the day we talk about Donnivan, the man who loved his family, his girlfriend and his friends," said the victim's mother, Patty Schaeffer.
Asked about the last words of the assassin, Schaeffer said he had forgiven him. "If I start to hate, then I wouldn't be here anymore, so I wouldn't be the person I am."
Rhines was calm in his execution. The lethal injection worked after a minute. He was pronounced dead Monday at 7:39 pm (local time).