8:01 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Behaving With Secrecy, Another State Botches Execution

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 11:36 pm

For the fourth time this year, an inmate's lethal injection did not go as planned. Last night, it was Arizona, but the state has company.

An Ohio inmate took 25 minutes to die in January. In Oklahoma, there were two apparent botches: In one,  an inmate said, "I feel my whole body burning," and in another, the prisoner took more than 40 minutes to die.

But Arizona's execution took even longer. Joseph Wood's execution began at 1:52 p.m., and he died nearly two hours later at 3:49 p.m.

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7:40 am
Thu July 17, 2014

After Delays, Missouri Carries Out Sixth Execution This Year

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 10:00 pm

Late Wednesday, Missouri executed John Middleton, 54, after courts debated whether he was mentally competent as well as claims that he was actually innocent.

According to the Department of Corrections, the execution began at 6:58 p.m. and ended at 7:06 p.m.

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8:59 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Missouri schedules another execution

Michael Worthington
Credit Missouri Department of Corrections

The Missouri Supreme Court has set an Aug. 6 execution for a St. Louis area man convicted of raping and killing a neighbor nearly two decades ago.

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7:59 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Missouri Becomes Second State To Carry Out An Execution After Oklahoma's Botched Affair

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 10:48 pm

Missouri carried out another execution early Wednesday. It was the state's fifth this year, and the nation's second since Oklahoma botched an execution in April.

Inmate John Winfield was put to death for murdering two people —  Arthea Sanders and Shawnee Murphy — in St. Louis County in 1996.

According to a state official, Winfield was pronounced dead at 12:10 a.m.

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4:55 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Mid-Missouri group uses Grim Reaper to protest the death penalty

A man dressed as the grim reaper stands in front of the Missouri Capitol building in Jefferson City, Mo. on June 16, 2014. The Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation was protesting the scheduled execution of John Winfield. Winfield might be the 75th pe
Tom Kackley KBIA

Controversy continues to surround the death penalty around the nation since a botched execution in Oklahoma in April.

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7:59 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Federal Judge Stays Missouri Execution Over Concerns That State Obstructed Clemency Process

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 6:07 pm

A federal judge has stayed Missouri's upcoming execution over concerns that the Department of Corrections obstructed the clemency process.

Inmate John Winfield was scheduled to be put to death on June 18 for killing two people in St. Louis County. Before an execution can occur in Missouri, the governor must first make a decision on clemency -- whether or not the inmate's life should be spared.

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2:47 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Appeals court sets hearing in postponed execution

Credit Joe Gratz / Flickr

A federal appeals court in St. Louis has set a September hearing in the case of a Missouri man whose late May execution was delayed by the U.S. Supreme Court hours before he was scheduled to die.

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4:42 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Missouri attorney general wants execution changes

Credit Flickr / steakpinball

Missouri's attorney general says the state should establish its own laboratory to produce chemicals for use in executions rather than rely on an "uneasy cooperation" with medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies.

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4:17 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Next step unclear after Missouri execution halted

Credit Jonathunder / Wikimedia commons

What happens now to a Missouri inmate after a rare last-minute stay of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court will be up to other judges.

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4:28 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Nixon holds firm on plans for execution

Credit hitthatswitch / flickr

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is standing firm with plans to execute Russell Bucklew this week, despite claims from the condemned man's attorneys that he could suffer during the process because of a rare medical condition.

Bucklew is scheduled to die by a lethal dose of pentobarbital at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for killing a southeast Missouri man during a violent crime spree in 1996.

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8:10 am
Mon May 5, 2014

ACLU and anti-death penalty group ask Gov. Nixon to suspend executions

Credit California Department of Corrections / Wikimedia Commons

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and the Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty joined together last week to send a letter to Governor Jay Nixon requesting a suspension on executions until the procedures are made more transparent.

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9:00 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Anti-death penalty vigils held in Missouri on eve of Rousan execution

Members of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty held a vigil Tuesday, April 22, 2014, on the eve of William Rousan's execution.
Josey Herrera KBIA

The state of Missouri has carried out its fourth execution this year. Just past midnight, William Rousan was executed for the 1993 murder of a 62-year-old woman in southeast Missouri. He was also convicted of killing the woman’s husband in a plan to steal their cows.

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7:16 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Execution law similar to Missouri's ruled unconstitutional

Credit California Department of Corrections / Wikimedia Commons

An Oklahoma judge on Wednesday ruled that the state's execution law is unconstitutional because it prevents inmates from finding out the source of the drugs used in executions.

The Missouri attorney general's office isn't commenting on any potential implications from a court ruling about Oklahoma's execution policies.

Missouri's execution law remains in place, but the state has a similar privacy provision that state officials have cited while declining to release the identity of the business that supplies its execution drugs.

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7:42 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Missouri Executes Inmate, Third This Year

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 11:33 am

At 12:01 Wednesday morning, Missouri executed inmate Jeffrey Ferguson, marking the state's fifth execution in as many months.

Ferguson was put to death for the brutal murder and rape of a 17-year-old St. Charles County girl. The crime occurred in 1989, and the victim’s father, Jim Hall, said the punishment was long overdue.

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7:59 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Missouri prepares for execution

Credit California Department of Corrections / Wikimedia Commons

Missouri continues to prepare for its third execution of the year.

Jeffrey Ferguson is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for the 1989 death of a 17-year-old St. Charles County girl. His attorneys have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a stay.

Missouri executed Herbert Smulls in January and Michael Taylor in February. The state has also set an April 23 execution date for William Rousan, convicted of killing an elderly St. Francois  County couple in 1993.

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4:00 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Executions in Missouri - the social, ethical and political factors

In Missouri and across the nation, the process of executing criminals is becoming complicated. It’s one of our society’s most somber, and impactful, tasks. But how much do you know about the process? If you don’t know much about it, there may be a reason for that. Two of our colleagues at in public radio have investigated and found that the process is shrouded in secrecy. Meantime, four people have been executed in Missouri in as many months, after years of less frequent executions.

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3:45 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Missouri could see record number of executions in 2014

Credit California Department of Corrections / Wikimedia Commons

Missouri could be on pace to see a record number of executions in 2014, with two more inmates now on the verge of execution dates.

The Missouri Supreme Court on Thursday issued show cause orders in the cases of Leon Taylor and Michael Worthington. The orders give attorneys for the two men until April 14 to show why an execution date should not be set.

Missouri executed two men late last year and has already put to death two other convicted killers in the first two months of 2014 — Herbert Smulls in January and Michael Taylor in February.

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8:33 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Senate panel reviews Missouri death penalty bills

Senate floor at the Missouri Capitol
Credit File / KBIA

A Missouri Senate committee is considering legislation on the death penalty.

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True/False Conversations
12:09 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Killing Time: A 'bare film' documenting the day of a Texas execution

Killing Time
Credit Still from the film / Jaap Van Hoewijk

This story is part of True/False Conversations, a series of in-depth interviews with the filmmakers of this year’s True/False Festival.  Find the rest of them here or download the podcast on iTunes.

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8:20 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Missouri Executes Second Inmate This Year - First With New Drug Source

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 5:06 pm

Wednesday's execution of Michael Taylor marked the state's fourth in as many months - a dramatic uptick from recent years.

The state put Taylor to death for abducting, raping and killing a 15-year-old girl in 1989. Gov. Jay Nixon called the crime "wanton" and "heinous" in a statement denying clemency and said the death penalty was the appropriate punishment.

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8:58 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Missouri Has A New Execution Drug Supplier

via Flickr/Nottingham Vet School

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 10:02 am

Although the state's previous drug supplier says it will not supply for the next execution, Missouri says it's found another willing pharmacy.

On Monday, the Apothecary Shoppe in Oklahoma reached a settlement with an inmate who had sued the pharmacy. Although the terms were confidential, the pharmacy agreed to not sell to Missouri for its upcoming execution.

In a court filing Wednesday evening, the state said inmate Michael Taylor was trying to cut off the supply of the state's execution drug.

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3:47 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Mo. bill would give flexibility on executions

Credit Yanivba via Flickr

A Missouri state senator wants to give the Corrections Department flexibility on how it carries out executions.

Republican Sen. Kurt Schaefer introduced legislation Wednesday that would allow the department to execute inmates by any lawful means. Current law permits executions only by lethal gas or chemicals.

Schaefer, of Columbia, says legal questions over Missouri's current use of pentobarbital shouldn't be used to block capital punishment in the state. He says his bill would give the department the necessary flexibility to carry out death sentences.

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8:26 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Another Federal Judge Criticizes Missouri For Haste In Carrying Out Executions

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 4:31 pm

Missouri's recent executions have sparked controversy lately -- not just for the secrecy and the source of the execution drug but also for the state's speed in carrying them out.

The Department of Corrections has carried out three executions in as many months. In all those cases, the inmate still had appeals pending at the time the state executed him.

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7:47 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Judge Orders Pharmacy Not To Sell Execution Drug To Missouri, For Now

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 5:42 pm

Update: Governor says the state is prepared to proceed regardless.

Update: Pharmacy hopes documents will be secret

A federal judge has ordered an Oklahoma-based pharmacy not to sell the Missouri Department of Corrections its execution drug, at least until a hearing scheduled for next week.

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8:46 am
Tue February 11, 2014

After Controversy Surrounding Executions, State Officials Testify Before House Committee

Department of Corrections Director George Lombardi testifies before the House Committee on Government Oversight.

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 6:30 pm

Despite the controversy over how Missouri has carried out its past three executions, a state House hearing on Monday revealed little that hasn't already been reported:

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8:27 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Oklahoma pharmacy seeks Missouri license

Credit Nottingham Vet School / Flikr

An Oklahoma compounding pharmacy linked to Missouri's new lethal injection drug is now seeking a license to do business in the neighboring state.

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4:46 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

After Supplying For Three Missouri Executions, Pharmacy Plans To Register In State

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 4:51 pm

An Oklahoma compounding pharmacy has supplied Missouri with the drug it's used three times to execute inmates, despite the fact that the pharmacy isn't licensed here.

Now the Apothecary Shoppe is attempting to become licensed in Missouri.

According to records obtained by St. Louis Public Radio, the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy received a letter from the Apothecary Shoppe on Jan. 13, when the pharmacy said it was planning on registering in both Missouri and Texas.

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8:13 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Robber convicted in fatal shooting executed by Mo.

Execution gurney
Credit California Department of Corrections / Wikimedia Commons

A Missouri man has been executed for fatally shooting a jeweler during a 1991 robbery, marking the state's third lethal injection in as many months.

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8:14 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Missouri Carries Out Execution After U.S. Supreme Court Removes Stays

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 1:28 pm

Updated at 1:41 a.m., Thurs., Jan. 30

Missouri inmate Herbert Smulls was put to death late Wednesday night after the U.S. Supreme Court removed two stays. He was pronounced dead at 10:20 p.m.

It was the state's third execution in as many months. The pace of one a month is a sharp uptick from recent years past, when the state has had problems getting a hold of execution drugs.

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