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Charles Rhines, South Dakota

Charles Rhines, South Dakota

November 4, 2019

Charles Russel Rhines has been executed by the state of South Dakota. Charles was pronounced dead at 7:39 pm local time inside the execution chamber at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. His execution had been scheduled to begin at 1:30 pm local time, however it was delayed several hours due to appeals pending before the Supreme Court of the United States. Charles was 63 years of age. He was convicted of the murder of 22-year-old Donnivan Schaeffer in Rapid City, South Dakota on March 8, 1992. Charles has spent the last 26 years on death row in South Dakota.

Charles was born the last of four children. As a child, Charles was diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and never received treatment for it. He did not graduate high school, as he dropped out to join the military and was eventually sent to South Korea. Charles did not stay in the military long, after which, he received a few prison sentences for robbery and burglary. Prior to his arrest, Charles worked various jobs in restaurants, salvage yards, and factories. Charles was also an employee of Dig ‘Em Donut shop until shortly before the murder.

On March 8, 1992, Charles Rhines broke into the Dig ‘Em Donut shop in Rapid City, South Dakota to burglarize it. Donnivan Shaeffer entered the store during the robbery to retrieve money and supplies for another store. Donnivan’s body was discovered inside the storeroom at the donut shop. Donnivan had his hands bound and had received multiple stab wounds. Approximately $3,300 was missing from the store.

On June 19, 1992, Charles Rhines was arrested in Seattle, Washington on burglary charges. After being read his Miranda rights, Rhines asked, “those two detectives from South Dakota are here, aren’t they?” Police did not question Rhines at that time, instead placing him in a holding cell.

Later that same day, two South Dakota law enforcement officers interrogated Rhines about the murder of Donnivan. During that interrogation, Rhines confessed to the robbery of Dig ‘Em Donut shop and the murder of Donnivan.

Rhines was convicted of robbery and murder and sentenced to death in January 1993. Since his conviction, Rhines has filed many appeals, arguing that he was not properly informed of his right to remain silent, arguing against the state’s execution protocol, and arguing that he was sentenced to death because he was a homosexual and the jury was prejudiced against his sexual orientation. His appeals were denied prior to his execution.

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Donnivan Shaeffer. Please pray for strength for the family of Charles Rhines.

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