Missouri Attorney General asks execution dates for 10 DR Inmates

Started by Jeff1857, June 09, 2007, 01:38:16 AM

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Jeff1857

Nixon seeks execution dates for 10


4 days after a federal appeals court ruling opened the way for restarting executions in Missouri, Attorney General Jay Nixon asked the state Supreme Court today to set execution dates for 10 condemned inmates.

Nixon's motions actually renew requests for execution dates for 5 men. He filed new motions in 5 other cases.

"These are all inmates that have gone through the entire process of state and federal appeals courts," said Scott Holste, a spokesman for Nixon.

In Missouri, the attorney general requests the execution date with the state Supreme Court, which decides whether to do so, and when to do it. Nixon did not request any specific dates.

Normally, the requests come one at a time as an inmate reaches the end of the appeals process, which generally takes years after their conviction.

But Missouri hasn't executed an inmate since convicted killer Marlin Gray was put to death in October 2005. Last year, a federal judge ordered a freeze on executions while the courts consider a case filed by condemned killer Michael Taylor.

At issue was the state's 3-drug method of executions. On Monday, a 3-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling, saying the 3-drug protocol fell within constitutional guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment.

The debate centered on how three drugs are administered in succession. If the initial anesthetic fails to take hold, a third drug that stops the heart can cause excruciating pain, it has been argued. But the inmate would be unable to communicate the pain because of a 2nd drug that paralyzes him.

Taylor's attorney said she would appeal the ruling.

Because it's been nearly 2 years since the last execution, many cases have since made their way through the appeals process, Holste said.

A spokeswoman for the Missouri Supreme Court did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Nixon renewed requests for execution dates for both Taylor and Roderick Nunley, Taylor's accomplice in the 1989 rape and killing of 15-year-old Ann Harrison of Kansas City. The girl had been taken from a school bus stop.

Nixon also renewed requests for execution dates for Richard Clay, convicted in a 1994 murder-for-hire in New Madrid County; Reginald Clemons, 1 of 3 men convicted of raping and killing 2 sisters in St. Louis in 1991; and Jeffrey Ferguson, convicted for killing a 17-year-old service station attendant in suburban St. Louis in 1989.

Nixon also made new requests for execution dates for:

--Andrew Lyons, convicted of killing 3 people in 1992 in Cape Girardeau.

--William Rousan, convicted with 2 other men in the 1993 murders of Charles and Grace Lewis in St. Francois County.

--Russell Bucklew, convicted of killing a man in 1996 in Cape Girardeau.

--John Winfield, convicted in the killings of 2 people in St. Louis County in 1996.

--John Middleton, convicted of killing 2 people in Mercer County in 1995.

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Hey Folks, Ya think Missouri was just waiting for the ruling.  ;)

Jeff1857

Here's an update.

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Appeals court lifts stay on executions


Condemned inmate Michael Taylor could soon face an execution date - even as he plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case on the constitutionality of Missouri's lethal injection method.

A ruling yesterday by a federal appeals court in St. Louis effectively cleared the way for the Missouri Supreme Court to set execution dates for Taylor and 9 other condemned inmates sought by Attorney General Jay Nixon.

The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' action effectively lifted a federal district judge's stay on all Missouri executions that has been in place since June 2006.

What is now in effect is a 3-judge appeals court panel decision in June that said Missouri's execution procedure is not cruel and unusual punishment. The full appeals court on Aug. 7 refused to take up Taylor's case.

Taylor's attorney, Ginger Anders, said she will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the appeals court's decision. But she acknowledged the Missouri Supreme Court can act whenever it wants to set an execution date for her client. The U.S. Supreme Court won't reconvene until the fall, but it could consider an expedited review.

"We're looking at options," Anders said.

In June, Nixon asked the state Supreme Court to set execution dates for Taylor and 9 other condemned inmates - more than 1/5 of the 44 inmates on death row in the state.

That request still stands, Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said yesterday.

"We are prepared to defend against any additional attempts by Mr. Taylor to stave off his sentence," Holste said.

Missouri Supreme Court spokeswoman Beth Riggert said she couldn't predict how or when the judges might rule on Nixon's request to set execution dates.

The Missouri Department of Corrections confirmed it doesn't have an execution team in place yet.

Last year, the federal judge who imposed the execution moratorium, U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr., said he wanted to be sure that the 3-drug injection method did not cause risk of pain and suffering.

Gaitan wanted the state to involve a doctor specializing in anesthesia, but the state has been unable to find such a doctor willing to participate in the executions.

The 3-judge panel on June 4 reversed Gaitan's ruling, saying the state's execution protocol "is designed to ensure a quick, indeed a painless, death," eliminating the need "for the continuing careful, watchful eye of an anesthesiologist or one trained in anesthesiology."

Missouri hasn't executed an inmate since convicted killer Marlin Gray was put to death in October 2005.

The debate centers on the administration of three drugs to accomplish the execution. The argument is that if the initial anesthetic does not take hold, a third drug that stops the heart can be excruciatingly painful. But the inmate would not be able to communicate the pain because of a 2nd drug that paralyzes him.

Missouri is among at least nine states that have put executions on hold as they grapple with whether lethal injection is inhumane.

Taylor, convicted of killing 15-year-old Ann Harrison in 1989 in Kansas City after kidnapping her from a school bus stop, was hours away from being executed in February 2006 when the procedure was halted.

The appeals court yesterday also upheld the conviction and death sentence of methamphetamine dealer John Middleton, who killed a meth dealer in 1995 in Harrison County.

He also faces the death penalty for killing 2 people in Mercer County.


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