Governor Parson refuses to grant Ernest Johnson clemency, lawyers hope for stay of execution | New
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Lawyers hope the death of a Missouri man will be stopped before his scheduled execution at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow at Bonne Terre, MO State Prison.
On Monday, Missouri Governor Mike Parson refused to grant clemency to death row inmate Ernest Johnson.
If there is no relief for Ernest Johnson, attorneys will hold execution watches in several locations in Missouri, including outside the governor’s office and near 39th and Troost in Kansas City, in. Missouri.
Johnson, 61, was convicted of the murder of three employees at a Casey’s general store in Columbia in 1994, including manager Mary Bratcher and employees Mabel Scruggs and Fred Jones.
“It’s an incredibly sad case all around,” said Johnson’s attorney, Deputy Federal Public Defender Jeremy Weis. “I don’t want to forget. Ernest wouldn’t want us to forget that he committed a terrible crime for which he is incredibly sorry.
Weis believes Johnson should spend the rest of his life in prison. He says Johnson’s execution would violate the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the execution of people with intellectual disabilities.
“Every expert who has testified who has undertaken a developmental disability exam has testified that he is intellectually disabled,” Weis said.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said, “The state is ready to deliver justice and enforce the legal sentence Mr. Johnson received pursuant to the Missouri Supreme Court order.
The governor’s office issued a statement which read in part: ‘The evidence has shown that Mr Johnson went to great lengths to plan and cover up his crime. Three juries reviewed Mr Johnson’s case and recommended a death sentence. Mr Johnson’s claim that he is not competent to be executed has been reviewed and rejected by a jury and the courts six times, including a unanimous decision by the Missouri Supreme Court.
“We are deeply saddened and disheartened by his decision today,” said Missourians State Director for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Elyse Max. “In fact, Governor Parson calls Johnson’s execution an act of justice, and we know it’s an act of revenge, and it’s not justice.”
In August, the Missouri Supreme Court refused to stop the execution. Johnson’s attorneys on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay of execution.
Lawyers say they will hold vigils for Johnson if a stay of execution is not granted.
“Assuming murder is an appropriate response to murder just continues the cycle of violence we need to tackle in Missouri,” said Max. “We hope people will take a look at what is happening to Ernest Johnson under an unfair system.”
Lawyers are expected to meet at the 39th and Troost in Kansas City on Tuesday starting at 5:00 p.m. and at noon outside the governor’s office.
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