A prison inmate serving a life sentence for a Lawrence County murder conspiracy died Saturday after an illness, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Donald Wiegers, 82, died at a Sioux Falls hospital, and an autopsy will be conducted, a department release states.

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According to Journal archives, a 45-year-old Wiegers was sentenced to life in 1983 for conspiracy to commit murder in the contract killing of Deadwood businessman Russell Keller in 1981. Wiegers was operating an appliance store in Rapid City before being charged of the crime.

The man convicted of shooting and stabbing Keller, David Waff, is serving a life sentence at the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls. The man believed to have masterminded the killing, Keller's business partner and stepfather-in-law, Melvin Brown, hanged himself at the Lawrence County Jail in 1982 — days before authorities said he was to be charged with murder and conspiracy. 

Contact Tiffany Tan at tiffany.tan@rapidcityjournal.com.

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Cops and courts reporter for the Rapid City Journal