In trying every avenue to stave off the death penalty, a South Dakota man’s latest attempt came up short. Only a few more chances are left.

In a press release, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley announced the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota has denied Charles Russell Rhines’ motion for habeas corpus relief and to amend the judgment. Rhines filed a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus seeking to overturn his conviction and death sentence for the murder of 22-year-old Donnivan Schaeffer in Rapid City on March 8, 1992.

“The Federal Court’s ruling affirms that Charles Russell Rhines’ murder conviction and capital sentence for the horrific murder of Donnivan Shaeffer are constitutional. My thoughts and prayers are with the Schaeffer family, who have waited 24 years for justice in this case,” said Jackley.

Rhines was a fired former employee of a doughnut shop and was in the act of burglarizing the establishment when Schaeffer arrived to open the store. Schaeffer was tied up and stabbed three times before Rhines left him in a storeroom.

A Pennington County jury convicted Rhines of first degree murder in 1993 and returned a sentence of death. Rhines’ conviction and death sentence were affirmed on direct appeal by the South Dakota Supreme Court in 1996. Rhines’ conviction and sentence were also affirmed on state habeas proceedings by the state trial court and South Dakota Supreme Court.

With the conclusion of his federal trial court habeas corpus proceedings, Rhines can file a notice of appeal within 30 days to the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit and, ultimately, to the United States Supreme Court. Rhines must obtain permission from the federal court to pursue an appeal.

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