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Judge rejects challenge to SD's single-drug execution method

PIERRE (AP) -- Attorney General Marty Jackley says a state court judge has rejected a death row inmate's challenge to South Dakota's single-drug execution method.

Charles Rhines is sentenced to die for the 1992 fatal stabbing of 22-year-old Donnivan Schaeffer during the burglary of a doughnut shop in Rapid City. He argued that the state's one-drug protocol violates constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment.

Jackley says South Dakota's protocol is modeled after one approved by the U.S. Supreme Court. He says 7th Circuit Court Judge Thomas Trimble ruled that South Dakota's method does not pose a risk of unconstitutional pain and suffering. Rhines can appeal.

The method is a single dose of pentobarbital. It was used in the execution of two death row inmates in South Dakota last fall.