Missouri executes man for 2005 murder of police officer

Status of Missouri A man has been executed for the 2005 murder of a police officer – ignoring claims of racial bias in his conviction as well as a desperate bid from his teenage daughter to be with him in his final moments.

Kevin Johnson, 37, was put to death by lethal injection at the state prison in Bonne Terre on Tuesday night – he became the fifth execution making November the busiest month for capital punishment in the US this month and throughout 2022.

Johnson, who was convicted of shooting and killing Kirkwood Police Sergeant William McEntee 17 years ago, did not make a final statement and refused to eat the last meal. He was declared brought dead at 7.40 pm.

The 37-year-old black man, who was 19 at the time of the crime, after all his legal appeals were exhausted.

On Tuesday evening, the conservative-heavy US Supreme Court refused to grant Johnson’s request to stay the execution based on arguments from both lawyers and a special prosecutor that racial bias played a role in his conviction.

Liberal Justices Ketanji Brown Jackson and Sonia Sotomayor opposed the decision.

Missouri’s Supreme Court also denied Johnson’s request for an adjournment on Monday, and Republican Governor Mike Parson declined to intervene.

After Johnson was sentenced to death, Mr Parson said he hoped the hanging would bring “some closure” to McEntee’s family.

Mary McEntee, the widow of the slain police officer, told a press conference that “many people have forgotten Bill” when he was “ambushed and shot” several times while serving his community.

“When he left for work that day, we could not have imagined that he would be killed by someone he gave his life to protect,” she said.

“Bill didn’t get a chance to fight for his life. He didn’t have a chance to be heard before a jury to decide whether he would live or die.

Johnson met with his daughter, Corionsa “Khori” Ramey, on Tuesday after a judge blocked the 19-year-old’s desperate plea to receive care of her father. execution for a crime she committed at age 19 — because of a Missouri law that claims she’s too young to see death sentence to be done.

Under Missouri state law, witnesses to the execution must be 21 or older.

Kevin Johnson, 37, with his daughter Khoury Ramey, 19, and grandson before he was executed Tuesday

(ACLU)

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on her behalf challenging the law, calling it a violation of Ms. Ramey’s constitutional rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

But, U.S. District Judge Brian Vimes threw out the lawsuit in a written ruling, saying the law did not violate her constitutional rights and that allowing states to enact their own laws was “in the public interest”. Is.

Following the verdict, Ms Ramey said she was “heartbroken” that she could not be with her father during his final moments.

“I am heartbroken that I will not be able to be with my father during his final moments,” she said in a statement ACLU,

“My dad is the most important person in my life. He has been there for me my whole life, even when he has been imprisoned. He is a good father, the only parent I have.

Johnson spent nearly two decades on death row for shooting a married father of three multiple times.

The fatal shooting came to light in July 2005 when McEntee was one of a group of police officers serving an arrest warrant on Johnson for a suspected probation violation.

When officers arrived at McEntee’s home, his 12-year-old brother Joseph “Bum Bum” Long ran to his grandmother’s house next door and collapsed from seizures.

The boy, who was suffering from a congenital heart defect, was taken to the hospital where he died.

Hours after the officer was called to respond to an unrelated incident in the neighborhood, Johnson and McEntee encountered each other again.

Johnson shot and killed the officer—shooting him once when he saw him and a second time after McEntee fell to the ground.

Johnson testified at his trial that he blamed the police officer for his brother’s death because he allegedly prevented their mother from providing aid to the teenage boy.

In an ironic twist, Johnson was 19 when he capital punishment – at the same age when his daughter was considered too young for him to see death sentence to be done.

The black man’s lawyers and a special prosecutor fought him until the bitter end of his life, arguing that his conviction and sentence were “infected with racism”.

Court-appointed special prosecutor Edward Keenan filed an appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court, arguing that the prosecutor in charge of the case showed “a particular hostility toward young black males”.

In court filings, he said former St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s office handled five cases of people accused of killing police officers.

Four of the cases involved black suspects and the fifth a white suspect.

his office demanded capital punishment The filing said that for the four black suspects, but not for the white suspect — and also invited the white defendant in that case to present mitigating circumstances to the state.

But, in spite of the evils, the execution of the black man went ahead.

Missouri has two more executions scheduled for the next three months – Scott McLaughlin in January and Leonard Taylor in February.

independent and non-profit Responsible Business Initiative for Justice (RBIJ) has launched a joint campaign to end the death penalty in the US. The RBIJ has attracted over 150 well-known signatories with their Business Leaders’ Declaration Against the Death Penalty being the latest on the list – The Independent. We join high-profile executives such as Arianna Huffington, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson as part of this initiative in pledging to highlight the injustice of the death penalty in our coverage.