Donald Moeller has given up appeals, accepting his execution without protest after 22 years of legal battles with the state of South Dakota. Moeller, 60, will be put to death on Tuesday for the murder of nine-year-old Becky O’Connell.
Former Lincoln County Sheriff Ken Albers was the first officer to approach the pale body of the nine-year-old girl, reports Yahoo! News. Albers recalled:
“I almost didn’t believe it. You don’t mess up a crime scene, but I had to walk over and touch the body to convince myself that it was real.”
The gruesome discovery in 1990 was the start of a massive 22-year-long legal battle and emotional experience for young Becky’s mom, as well as the community of Sioux Falls.
Moeller’s death sentence in 1992 was the first South Dakota had handed down in 45 years. Aside from the execution of a prison guard’s killer earlier this year, it will be the second time since the 1940s that a prisoner has been executed in the state.
The young girl’s mother, Tina Curl, will be making the trip from New York state to Sioux Falls to watch the execution, which will bring an end to the mass of emotional trauma she has been under since Becky O’Connell’s death.
The Sioux City Journal notes that Donald Moeller kidnapped the nine-year-old girl from a convenience store in Sioux Falls. He then drove her to a secluded area near the Big Sioux River, where he raped and stabbed her, leaving her for death. Her naked body was discovered the next day.
In giving up his appeal in July, Moeller stated that he was ready to accept the conviction as a consequence of his actions. He added, “The law has spoken. I killed. I deserve to be killed.”
For a city where violent crime is rare, the memory of Becky O’Donnell’s death is still haunting. Her mother hopes that Moeller’s death will finally help her find peace after 22 years of pain and suffering. Curl stated:
“I’m looking forward to it. All this is just bringing what I tried to push way in the back, back up front … Right after Beck was murdered, I started drinking every day. I drank from the time I woke up to the time I passed out at night.”
She hopes that the trip back to Sioux Falls to see her daughter’s murderer, Donald Moeller, executed will help her still the memories of her daughter’s haunting crime scene photos.