South Dakota executed its first prisoner on death row in five years and only the second in more than six decades.

Eric Robert pleaded guilty in the April 2011 slaying of prison guard Ron Johnson during a failed escape attempt and asked to be put to death.

Johnson's wife, Lynette, was at the penitentiary.  "We need to have more attention focused on the safety of all of the corrections officers in the state of South Dakota.  Ron...none of you will ever know how greatly he is going to be missed.  We stand proud for Ron."

State Attorney General Marty Jackley witnessed last night's execution.  "I want to recognize the men and women of the Department of Corrections for carrying out a sentence that was constitutionally sound and humane.  I sincerely hope that this will help the healing of the Johnson family as well as Robert's other victims and that this sentence will better ensure the safety of South Dakota Corrrections Officers."

Supporters and friends of Ron Johnson gathered near the prison training facility.  Pam was one of them.  "I am for the death penalty.  If someone takes a life, they deserve to die.  It won't bring my friend Ron back.  But, I guess this is the best we can do at this point."

Opponents to the death penalty, including Jerry Larson of Sioux Falls, gathered outside the penitentiary.  "I have a graduate degree in criminology.  I've been concerned with capital punishment my entire life.  But, tonight my faith has brought me out here."

Inmate Donald Moeller, meanwhile, is set to be executed the week of October 28th.

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