August 4, 2022
Signatures: 70Next Goal: 100
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Why this petition matters

Started by Paige P

Drugs are a terrible addiction. Even recreational drugging can lead to addiction and even death. Very close friends were lost at an early age due to an overdose. From what I read, drugs can make people do things that they wouldn’t think of doing when sober.

 Such was the case that night of July 9, 1995. A young lady, Mary K. Ross was brutally murdered. The men involved, Robert J Power Jr., Eric Coon, Michael L Smith, and Robert Poppen were eventually convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. These men at the time were young and doing what everyone else was doing. Drugs. Are we using that as an excuse? Maybe. What we will never know is what the drugs do to the brain to do such an inexcusable and atrocious act. Talking to drug rehab supervisors, they state that some drugs have an effect on some to do things for the thrill of it. Was this the case? Another question that can’t be answered.

  This petition is for the possibility of these men, be given a new lease on life. At the time of the crime, these men were young and now 27 years later, they have been rehabilitated. Which is the whole purpose of the prison system.

  There is another petition on this site. A petition entitled “STOP Re-Traumatizing Family of Mary K Ross – DENY commutation of LIFE sentences.

  This petition has been written due to the family being hurt, angry,

and scared. That’s understandable. But at the same time the petition shows a severe lack of knowledge, then and now.

 An example would be the case of the wife of Robert Power being abused and leaving her husband. Police records, which are available to the public, had never received a 911 call, and records also show that a police officer was never at the address of the couple.

  To show what I mean about rehabilitation, the following is what Eric Coon has done since his incarceration.


  As mentioned before, rehabilitation is the main goal of the prison system. I will attempt to show Eric Coon and Robert Power their accomplishments.

          1 – Studied and received his GED

          2 – Baptized

          3 – Toastmasters Charter Member

4 – Dialectical behavior therapy Parts 1 & 2

          5 – 7 Prison Lighthouse Seminars

          6 – Moral Recognition Therapy

          7 – 25 Alternatives to Violence Workshops

          8 – Paralegal Certificate from Adams St University

          9 – 2 Advance Certificates for Constitutional Studies and

                  Criminal Procedures

        10 – Prison Lighthouse Council Member

        11 – Mental Health Mentor

        12 – Paralegal Certificate from Stratford Career Center

        13 – Graduate of Smart Therapy Training

        14 – Member of Lifer Group

        15 – Has worked for Metalcraft Industries 4 years welding

                   Hydraulic Tanks (Prison Industries)


 Robert Power achievements:

          1 – Studied and passed GED

          2 – Graduated 3 different courses at Crossword Bible


          3 – Graduated Blackstone Career Institute with 93.38 grade

                   Point average in Paralegal.

          4 – Took following classes with certificates:

                   Commitment to Change

                   Communication Skills

                   Word Excel and computer access

                   Math Enhancement

                Anger and Stress Management

                Finding and Keeping a Job

                Financial responsibility

                Impact of Crime on Victims

          5 – Member of Toastmasters

          6 – Member of Lifer Group

          7 – Prison Lighthouse Council Member

          8 – Certificate for Drug Treatment Program “Face It”

          9 - 7 Alternative to Violence classes and now Facilitator

        10 – Worked for Metalcraft Industries for 8 years (Prison



   These men have showed the exact wording of what incarceration is intended to do. Rehabilitate. They have not sat around doing nothing, but have taken the road of making themselves a better person. Hoping that one day, all they have learned, everything they have done, that society would give them a second chance at life outside of the prison walls.

  We are submitting this petition to the South Dakota Board of Pardons and Parole.

                   Our request is for commutation of our life sentence. By which, if granted, will abide by all orders that this board may set forth in its ruling.


  Those wishing to make comments, send emails to  (Parole and Pardons Office)

(Director of Paroles)

Kristi Noem –  (Governor)

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Signatures: 70Next Goal: 100
Support now