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Brothers on Death Row in OK, SD for Separate Crimes

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on May 30, 2012 9:45 AM

A man on South Dakota's death row seems to be following in his big brother's infamous footsteps: Both were sentenced to death, albeit 25 years apart for different crimes in different states, the Associated Press reports.

Rodney Berget is set to be executed in September for beating a South Dakota prison guard to death with a pipe in a foiled escape attempt in 2011.

Rodney Berget's scheduled execution comes 12 years after his older brother, death-row inmate Roger Berget, was executed in Oklahoma for a separate kidnapping gone bad.

Roger Berget and an accomplice kidnapped a man at random in 1987, stole the man's car, and shot him twice in the back of the head and neck, the AP reports. Berget was sentenced to death, and his accomplice got life in prison without parole.

Roger Berget spent 13 years on death row before he was executed by lethal injection in 2000.

Two months after Roger Berget received his death sentence, younger brother Rodney -- who was serving time in South Dakota for grand theft -- was among six inmates who escaped from prison by slathering lotion over their bodies and slipping out through an air vent.

Rodney Berget was eventually recaptured, and then released after serving time, the AP reports. But after a few years of freedom, Rodney was convicted again, for attempted murder and kidnapping.

Back in prison, Rodney Berget again tried to escape, using a pipe to beat a 63-year-old prison guard to death in 2011 before he and a fellow inmate were caught. "I knew what I was doing," Rodney Berget told a court. "I took away a father, a husband, a grandpa."

But the second Berget brother on death row could see his execution delayed, as South Dakota law requires a review of all death penalty cases to make sure the sentence is proper. Rodney Berget's review could take as long as two years, even though Rodney is not challenging his fate, the state's attorney general told the AP.

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