SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A federal judge has heard arguments in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the widow of a South Dakota State Penitentiary guard slain by inmates three years ago.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol on Wednesday heard from the attorneys of Lynette Johnson. She alleges that lackadaisical behavior by state prison officials enabled Rodney Berget and Eric Robert to kill her husband during a failed escape attempt in 2011.
The Department of Corrections told Piersol that the suit fails to show that Ronald Johnson's safety was disregarded. The state has asked Piersol to dismiss the lawsuit.
Both Berget and Robert were sentenced to death for the killing of Johnson. Robert was executed in 2012. Berget remains on death row.
Piersol will decide whether to dismiss the suit at a later date.