Aug. 30, 2006 – South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds delayed the execution of a 24-year-old man scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday night until after July 1, 2007. It would have been the first execution in the state since 1947.
Rounds said he issued the reprieve to give the legislature time to amend the stateâ€™s outdated lethal injection law in order to reflect "more recent lethal injection protocols."
A number of death row prisoners have challenged the constitutionality of lethal injection as "cruel and unusual punishment."
Human-rights advocates had been urging clemency for Page because, according to Amnesty International, his case illustrates a randomness in the US death penalty.
Elijah Page was 18 years old in March 2000 when he, along with Briley Piper and Darrell Hoadley, kidnapped, beat, stabbed and bludgeoned to death 19-year-old Allan Poage in the small town of Spearfish.
After Page pleaded guilty and waived his right to trial and sentencing by jury,
Circuit Judge Warren Johnson sentenced him to death. Hoadley, on the other hand, pleaded not guilty, was convicted by a jury and received a sentence of life without parole.
Amnesty International USA Executive Director Larry Cox said the disparate outcomes demonstrate that the US capital-punishment system is a "lottery of death."
"Page was sentenced to death, and Hoadley was sentenced to life â€“ for the same crime. Page's execution must be halted at once," Cox said in a press statement. The organization is opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, stating that it is the "ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights."
Piper was also sentenced to death after pleading guilty and waiving his right to a jury trial, but is currently appealing his sentence.
Page has relinquished his appeals and is not fighting his execution.