The state of Missouri killed a prisoner by deadly injection on Tuesday, ending a prolonged combat by activists to spare the lifetime of a person convicted in a brutal 1994 triple homicide.
Ernest Johnson, 61, was injected with a deadly dose of pentobarbital at Bonne Terre jail and died at 6:11 p.m. after last-minute pleas for clemency from advocates together with Pope Francis.
His demise got here hours after the US Supreme Court took a cross on a long-shot try by his attorneys to maintain him alive.
A two-sentence order Tuesday afternoon from Justice Brett Kavanaugh denied a keep of execution for Johnson, who was the seventh individual put to demise within the US this yr and the primary who wasn’t a federal prisoner or executed in Texas.
Johnson’s attorneys had claimed that his execution was unconstitutional as a result of he was “intellectually disabled.” He was born with fetal alcohol syndrome and had misplaced mind tissue from a 2007 tumor-removal surgical procedure.
Politicians and different advocates had additionally pushed Gov. Mike Parson to grant clemency to Johnson, who’s black, on racial justice grounds.
The Pope joined the calls within the days earlier than the execution. In a letter despatched on his behalf by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, he identified Johnson’s “humanity and the sacredness of all human life.
“His Holiness wishes to place before you the simple fact of Mr. Johnson’s humanity and the sacredness of all human life,” the letter acknowledged, according to Vatican News.
Parson, a Republican, introduced Monday, on the eve of the execution, that the state would transfer ahead with the sentence.
Johnson killed three employees at Casey’s General Store throughout a Feb. 12, 1994 theft. He used a hammer and screwdriver to kill Mary Bratcher, 46, Mabel Scruggs, 57, and Fred Jones, 58, authorities stated.
He was convicted 3 times for the crime after his first two sentences had been thrown out on enchantment.
Johnson had requested to be killed by a firing squad relatively than by the state’s controversial methodology of deadly injection, which he feared would trigger painful seizures.
The Supreme Court rejected his request.
His final meal was two bacon double cheeseburgers, two strawberry milkshakes and a big pizza, officers stated.