Legal professionals for Johnson, a 61-year-old Black man convicted of a 1994 triple homicide case, mentioned overwhelming proof confirmed he was intellectually disabled.
The US state of Missouri has executed Ernest Johnson, a 61-year-old Black man convicted of a 1994 triple homicide case, regardless of his attorneys’ arguments that overwhelming proof confirmed he was intellectually disabled.
The execution, by deadly injection on Tuesday night time, got here after Missouri Governor Mike Parsons and the US Supreme Courtroom declined to grant clemency sought by former officers, legislators, and Pope Francis.
The Vatican’s envoy to the US had despatched a letter to Parsons on behalf of the pope final week urging him to halt the “killing”.
Two Democratic members of the US Home of Representatives from Missouri, Cori Bush and Emanuel Cleaver, additionally issued an attraction for clemency, saying Johnson’s execution “can be a grave act of injustice”.
“Killing those that lack the mental means to adapt their habits to the legislation is morally and legally unconscionable,” they mentioned in an announcement.
“Like slavery and lynching did earlier than it, the demise penalty perpetuates cycles of trauma, violence and state-sanctioned homicide in Black and brown communities.”
Ernest was convicted of bludgeoning to demise three comfort retailer staff utilizing a hammer, a screwdriver and a gun throughout a botched theft in Columbia, Missouri.
His attorneys have repeatedly argued that as a result of Johnson was born with fetal alcohol syndrome dysfunction, repeatedly scored throughout the vary of mental incapacity on IQ assessments and had the “each day residing abilities” of a four-year-old, his execution would represent “merciless and weird punishments”, that are prohibited below the US structure.
‘Mood our comprehensible anger’
Former Missouri Governor Bob Holden had additionally voiced his opposition to the execution, regardless of his normal help for the demise penalty and the truth that 20 prisoners had been executed throughout his time period.
In an op-ed for The Kansas Metropolis Star, he wrote that following a evaluate of Johnson’s historical past he agrees that the convicted man “definitely has mental and developmental disabilities”.
“None of this excuses what Johnson did. But when our state is to be guided by the rule of legislation, we should mood our comprehensible anger with cause and compassion for essentially the most susceptible amongst us, together with Ernest Johnson,” he wrote.
Parsons, in the meantime, defended the choice to not grant clemency.
“Mr Johnson’s declare that he’s not competent to be executed has been reviewed and rejected by a jury and the courts six completely different instances, together with a unanimous resolution by the Missouri Supreme Courtroom,” Parson’s workplace mentioned in an announcement earlier than the execution.
It added the state was “ready to ship justice and perform the lawful sentence Mr Johnson acquired”.