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South Dakota inmate seeks stay from US Supreme Court

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A South Dakota prison inmate is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his execution next week.

Charles Rhines is sentenced to die in the 1992 slaying of a 22-year-old doughnut shop employee who interrupted him during a burglary. His execution is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday.

Rhines asked the high court Friday to stay the execution on the grounds he hasn’t been granted access to experts to evaluate his claims of cognitive and psychiatric impairments. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that appeal last week.

Rhines, who is gay, also asked the high court to consider his claim that he was sentenced to death by jurors who had an anti-gay bias, an argument the high court has declined to hear before. The state has argued that jurors opted for death due to the chilling nature of the crime.

Separately, Rhines appealed a circuit judge’s refusal to delay his execution on the grounds the pentobarbital in his execution doesn’t meet the “ultra-short-acting” standard for lethal injection drugs in effect when he was convicted. The circuit judge said in his ruling Thursday that pentobarbital works as fast or faster than the drugs Rhines cited when used in lethal doses.

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