The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday
declined to hear a case involving a gay man who may have been
sentenced to death rather than life in prison because of his sexual
The move leaves in place the death
sentence for Charles Rhines.
Rhines is on death row in South Dakota
for the 1992 murder of an employee in the course of a commercial
burglary. Rhines stabbed the 22-year-old employee to death after he
caught Rhines burglarizing a doughnut shop in Rapid City.
Rhines had argued that some of the
jurors in his case believed that he should not be sentenced to life
in prison because as a gay man he would enjoy serving in a men's
The jury sent a note to the judge
asking whether, if sentenced to life without parole, Rhines would “be
allowed to mix with the general inmate population,” be able to
“brag about his crime to other inmates, especially new and/or young
men,” enjoy “conjugal visits,” and whether he would “have a
The justices did not comment in
rejecting the appeal.