Woman gives up effort to stay Moeller executionSIOUX FALLS (AP) — A Sioux Falls woman with loose family ties to death row inmate Donald Moeller has given up her effort to stop Moeller's upcoming execution.
By: Dirk Lammers, The Associated Press
SIOUX FALLS (AP) — A Sioux Falls woman with loose family ties to death row inmate Donald Moeller has given up her effort to stop Moeller's upcoming execution.
Moeller, 60, has said he's ready to accept death as the consequence for the 1990 kidnapping, rape and murder of 9-year-old Becky O'Connell. His execution is set for next week.
On Wednesday, attorneys for Donna Nichols filed a motion with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the appeal of his federal case challenging South Dakota's execution protocol.
Earlier Wednesday, Nichols' Rapid City-based attorney, Robert Van Norman, said he was filing a motion with the appeals court to stay the execution and was prepared to take it to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol on Tuesday denied Nichols' motion to stay the execution and intervene in the case. Nichols, whose mother married Moeller's stepfather, says Moeller wasn't psychologically qualified to dismiss his appeals.
She claimed that Moeller's years of confinement and psychological problems have made him incapable of making voluntary and rational decisions.
Moeller recently asked a federal judge to dismiss his appeals and let him die.
Judge Piersol has upheld the constitutionality of Moeller's conviction and sentence, but he hadn't ruled on the constitutionality of a South Dakota Department of Corrections execution policy that was changed last year.
Arkansas attorneys who had been representing Moeller had hoped to press forward with claims that South Dakota's use of the drug pentobarbital in a one-drug method would inflict cruel and unusual punishment, but his successful request to dismiss the case made that impossible.
Moeller's new attorney, Mark Marshall, has said that the motion to appoint Nichols as a friend in the case appeared to be an effort by the Arkansas attorneys to continue to insert their wishes over Moeller's.
Authorities say Moeller kidnapped O'Connell from a Sioux Falls convenience store, drove her to a secluded area near the Big Sioux River, then raped and killed her. Her naked body was found the next day. She had been stabbed and her throat was slashed.