execution

No state has carried out more executions than Missouri this year. Early this morning, Missouri carried out its eighth execution of 2014.

Earl Ringo was put to death for killing two people during a robbery that went bad in Columbia.

As preparations for a man’s execution begin, his pen pal is hoping she will be able to speak with him for the last time tonight.

A motion for judgment has been filed in a lawsuit accusing the state of violating Sunshine Laws for refusing to provide information related to Missouri executions.

The filing seeks to expedite a lawsuit filed earlier this year by stating there is no dispute in the core facts of the case, which calls on the court to order the Department of Corrections to release details about the drugs used in lethal injections. It also seeks to identify the pharmacies and laboratories that create and test the drugs.

Missouri Department of Corrections

The Missouri Supreme Court has canceled an execution for one death row inmate and scheduled a different man to be put to death next month.

Missouri Department of Corrections

A Missouri inmate has been put to death for raping and killing a neighbor in 1995, the first lethal injection in the U.S. since an execution in Arizona went awry last month.

Missouri Department of Corrections

The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing whether to intervene in the scheduled Missouri execution of an Illinois man condemned to death in the 1995 killing of a suburban St. Louis college student.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tom Kackley / KBIA

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

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.

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.

gavel
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.

gavel
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.

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.

execution gurney
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.

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.

execution gurney
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.

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.

execution gurney
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.

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.

execution gurney
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.

Senate floor at the Missouri Capitol
File / KBIA

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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