SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – South Dakota’s attorney general is using the execution of a death row inmate to remember his victim.
Charles Rhines was executed by lethal injection Monday evening, nearly three decades after he stabbed a young doughnut shop worker to death.
Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg says that worker, Donnivan Schaeffer, was “funny, kind and a hard worker” with a bright future awaiting him after he was to finish Western Dakota Tech. He says Schaeffer loved hunting and fishing and was engaged to be married.
Shawn Nolan, an attorney for Rhines, called it “very sad and profoundly unjust” that Rhines was executed without a court hearing evidence of what he called gay bias influencing the jury’s death sentence.
An investigator in the case said the jury reacted to Rhines’ chilling confession, not his sexuality.
Media witnesses said Rhines used his last words to tell Ed and Peggy Schaeffer that “I forgive you for your anger and hatred towards me.”
The Schaeffers said they wanted to talk about their son, not Rhines. They say they were “so blessed to have this young man in our family and in our life.”
Rhines ambushed Schaeffer when Schaeffer interrupted him as he was burglarizing the doughnut shop where Schaeffer worked. Rhines had been fired a few weeks earlier.