A South Dakota inmate who acknowledged killing a state penitentiary guard in a failed escape attempt asked a judge on Wednesday to sentence him to death,
saying his one regret is that he did not kill another officer and that he will kill again.
Eric Robert, 49, pleaded guilty in September to killing Ronald "R.J." Johnson on April 12 — Johnson's birthday — in an attempt to sneak past other security.
Robert told [Judge Bradley] Zell during his pre-sentencing hearing that he was so full of anger and hungry for freedom on April 12 that he would have killed anyone who stood in his way.
"Brad Zell, if you stood between me and the door of freedom, I would kill you," Robert said.
Robert said the one regret he has from April 12 is that he did not bring the pipe with him to the gate to kill the officer who stopped him. Once he realized his plan was going to fail, Robert said he began climbing up the wall of the prison — not to escape but to try to reach for the rifle of an officer on the lookout. "I would have shot that weapon until it was empty," he said.
Lynette Johnson [Ronald's widow] called Robert "evil" and a "coward" and has a hard time responding when one of her six grandchildren ask about their papa.
Unfortunately for Lynette and many other victims of remorseless thugs like Robert, there is an incessant agitation by many to spare people like Eric Robert and enable their continued violence behind bars.Prison does not render violent offenders harmless; it just shifts the victim population to those inside the prisons, guards, staff, and other inmates.
R.I.P., Ronald Johnson.