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The Latest: Lawyer: Execution violent act in ‘vile’ process

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The Latest on the release of a transcript from a recent South Dakota execution (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

An attorney for a South Dakota inmate put to death for the killing of a prison guard says the execution of his client was yet another violent act in the “vile” death penalty process.

Attorney Jeff Larson’s comments Wednesday come after corrections officials this week released a transcript from the Oct. 29 execution of Rodney Berget. He was sentenced to death for killing corrections officer Ronald “R.J.” Johnson during a 2011 prison escape attempt.

The transcript shows Berget’s last words after the lethal injection drug pentobarbital was administered: “Is it supposed to feel like that?” The 56-year-old Berget was pronounced dead 12 minutes after the lethal injection began.

Larson says it’s an embarrassment to the legal profession that “we try to solve problems in this manner.”

Berget and fellow inmate Eric Robert beat Johnson with a pipe and covered his head in plastic wrap. Robert was executed on Oct. 15, 2012.

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10:53 a.m.

A transcript from the recent execution of a South Dakota inmate shows his last words were: “Is it supposed to feel like that?”

Corrections officials released a transcript Tuesday from the Oct. 29 execution of Rodney Berget, who was sentenced to death for killing corrections officer Ronald “R.J.” Johnson during a 2011 prison escape attempt.

The transcript shows Berget’s asked, “Is it supposed to feel like that?” He then groaned and said “ah” before he began breathing heavily.

The 56-year-old Berget was pronounced dead 12 minutes after the lethal injection of barbiturate pentobarbital began.

Attorneys for Berget weren’t immediately available to comment Wednesday.

Berget’s execution was the state’s fourth since reinstituting the death penalty in 1979. The transcript also shows he’d earlier thanked people who supported him.

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