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Missouri Execution Stayed by US Supreme Court Pending Outcome of Appeal

Image: Missouri Execution Stayed by US Supreme Court Pending Outcome of Appeal
Death row inmate Ernest Lee Johnson is shown in this Missouri Department of Corrections photo released to Reuters on October 26, 2016. (Missouri Department of Corrections/Handout/Reuters)

By    |   Wednesday, 04 Nov 2015 11:22 AM

The Missouri execution of Ernest Lee Johnson was temporarily stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday pending his appeal with the 8th Court of Appeals.

If the appeals court does not rule by 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Missouri Supreme Court will have to schedule a new execution date, according to KMIZ-TV. Johnson was convicted of killing three people in Columbia, Missouri, in 1994.

"The application is granted pending the disposition of petitioner's appeal," the U.S. Supreme Court temporary stay stated. "Petitioner's complaint alleges that Missouri's method of execution violates the Eighth Amendment as applied to a person with his particular medical condition."

Johnson's attorneys Jeremy Weis and Brian Gaddy claim that the lethal injection will cause severe, painful seizures for their client. The midazolam and pentobarbital ingredients in the injection would trigger seizures because of Johnson's scar tissue from a brain surgery in 2008 and remaining parts of a tumor there, they said.

Prosecutors aren't buying it though, according to The Guardian.

Scott Holste, a spokesman for Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, said the governor was reviewing Johnson's petition for clemency.

Johnson's attorneys also argued that he should not be eligible for execution at the state prison on Bonne Terre, Missouri, because of his "intellectual disability." He was found guilty of beating Mary Bratcher, Mabel Scrubbs, and Fred Jones with a hammer, a screw driver, and a gun in a convenience store robbery, The Guardian reported.

While there is little doubt about Johnson's guilty conviction of the 1994 triple homicide, the Missouri Supreme Court made prosecutors re-try the death penalty portion of the case three times, according to KMIZ-TV.

Lorrie Heichelbech, one of victim Mary Bratcher's daughters, told the television station that she doesn't want people to forget her mother and how strong of a person she was when she was alive.

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The Missouri execution of Ernest Lee Johnson was temporarily stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday pending his appeal with the 8th Court of Appeals.
missouri, execution, stopped, supreme court
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2015-22-04
Wednesday, 04 Nov 2015 11:22 AM
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