See the post-implementation news conference in the player below.
Columbia, Mo. (KMIZ)
The state hanged Ernest Lee Johnson on Tuesday, 25 years after three gas station workers were killed and his lawyers made a last-ditch effort to save him, the Associated Press reported.
The execution was carried out after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a one-sentence order on Tuesday afternoon.
Johnson died of a pentobarbital injection at 6:11 p.m. in the state prison at Bonne Terre. According to an ABC17 News reporter who witnessed the execution, he could be seen pronouncing the word “I love you” to family members. Johnson found it difficult to breathe because the drug was effective. Then Johnson went to bed.
The state of Missouri has released Ernest Johnson’s last statement. Johnson wrote on October 4th.
The Missouri Department of Corrections held a press conference after Johnson was hanged.
A spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections said there was no victim statement and then gave a timeline for the execution.
- 5:16 pm – Correction Department reports that all petitions have been rejected and the order of execution may begin
- 5:41 pm – Witnesses moved to the auditorium
- 6:00 pm – Missouri Attorney General’s Office reports no legal impediments to Johnson’s execution
- 6:01 pm – Government Parson Office asks to proceed
- 6:02 pm – Johnson is given medication
- The timer was set at 6:05 – 5 minutes in the evening
- 6:11 pm – Johnson is pronounced dead
Johnson was scheduled to be hanged at 6 a.m. Tuesday at the state prison in Bone Terre. His lawyers, lawyers and opponents of the death penalty have argued for years that Johnson has an intellectual disability, which makes his execution unconstitutional. In addition to a low IQ score, Johnson had fetal alcohol syndrome and lost brain tissue after having a benign tumor removed 13 years ago.
Johnson’s lawyers renewed a brief argument filed Monday in the Supreme Court. They claim that Johnson’s intellectual disability is well-established, that courts rejecting Johnson’s appeal have misused the precedent, and that Missouri’s jury suggestions about intellectual disability are “flawed.”
“This is not a close case,” the lawyer argues in legal documents. “Ernest Johnson is intellectually disabled. Allowing the state of Missouri to hang Mr Johnson undermines the authority of this court, and exemplifies and represents a fundamental abortion of justice.”
Johnson was sentenced to death in 1995 after the 1994 assassinationY. Bracher, Fred Jones, and Mabel Scruggs – workers at KC’s General Store. Authorities say Johnson used a hammer and screwdriver in the brutal killings.
Missouri government Mike Parson said Monday that the state plans to move forward With plans to execute Johnson by lethal injection.
Protests erupted across the state on Tuesday to put pressure on the state to stop the executions. Missouri’s ACLU says the death penalty is “a recognition of a racist and vengeful criminal legal system that has no interest in judicial integrity.”
Check back for updates on this evolving story and watch the ABC 17 news at 5 and 6 p.m.
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