The Missouri Supreme Court docket on Tuesday refused to halt the October execution of a man convicted of a triple killing who claimed his psychological disability made him ineligible for the demise penalty.
Ernest Lee Johnson, 61, is scheduled to die by injection Oct. 5 on the issue penal complex in Bonne Terre. It’d be the first execution in Missouri since convicted killer Walter Barton used to be keep to demise in Can also simply 2020.
Johnson’s attorney, Kansas City public defender Jeremy Weis, acknowledged he’s aloof weighing alternatives about what to enact subsequent. Weis acknowledged Johnson “meets all statutory and scientific definitions” of psychological disability and has an IQ that in diverse assessments has ranged from 67 to 77. The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits executing intellectually disabled folk.
Johnson used to be convicted of killing 46-year-weak Mary Bratcher, 57-year-weak Mable Scruggs and 58-year-weak Fred Jones all the plan in which via a closing-time robbery of a Casey’s General Store in Columbia in February 1994. Johnson wanted money to expend medication, authorities acknowledged.
All three staff had been overwhelmed to demise with a claw hammer. Bratcher additionally used to be stabbed on the least 10 times with a screwdriver and Jones used to be shot within the face. The bodies had been hid in a cooler.
Johnson used to be arrested after police figured out a bank fetch, stolen money and store receipts at his home.
Johnson had beforehand requested that his execution be applied by firing squad. His legal professionals argued that Missouri’s lethal injection drug, pentobarbital, would possibly possibly possibly plight off seizures. In 2008 Johnson had most, but not all, of a benign mind tumor eradicated, and a later MRI revealed that up to 20% of his mind tissue used to be additionally eradicated.
But Missouri law does not authorize execution by firing squad and the U.S. Supreme Court docket in Can also simply refused to resolve into consideration Johnson’s allure. The Missouri Supreme Court docket, in its decision on Tuesday, additionally declined to halt the execution in response to concerns in regards to the drug.
Johnson has been sentenced to demise thrice.
He used to be already on demise row in 2001 when the U.S. Supreme Court docket dominated that executing the mentally ill used to be unconstitutionally cruel and a brand unique sentencing hearing used to be ordered. Johnson used to be as soon as more sentenced to demise in 2003. The Missouri Supreme Court docket tossed that sentence, too. In 2006, Johnson used to be sentenced to demise as soon as more.