A veteran prison guard who turned 63 on Tuesday was killed during a botched escape attempt at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls.

Ronald E. Johnson, a 23-year penitentiary veteran, was pronounced dead at 11:50 a.m. after an alleged assault by inmates Eric Robert and Rodney Berget.

Robert was serving an 80-year-sentence for a 2005 kidnapping where he posed as an officer, and Berget was serving two life sentences for attempted murder and kidnapping. The attorney who prosecuted the men called Robert "one of the most potentially dangerous men I've ever met." Berget had attempted escape on two earlier occasions.

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