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Missouri to execute man lawyers say is disabled, despite pope call for clemency By Reuters



Jonathan Allen

(Reuters) – Missouri will execute Ernest Johnson, a convicted murderer, Tuesday night after Governor Mike Parson refused to grant Pope Francis the clemency requested by Pope Francis among other reasons. Johnson’s intellectual disability is one of the main grounds for Parson declining to grant it.

Johnson (61), was found guilty in 1994 of the murders of three employees at a convenience store. Johnson will be administered a fatal dose of pentobarbital (a strong barbiturate) at 6:45 p.m. CT in Bonne Terre’s state execution chamber.

According to his lawyers, there is ample evidence that Johnson has an intellectual disability. On Tuesday, they asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the execution of Johnson because it violated a ban on cruel and unusual punishments.

The conservative-majority Supreme Court rarely blocks executions. In August, Johnson’s claim for intellectual disability was rejected by the Missouri Supreme Court.

His lawyers stated that Johnson, who was born with fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder, scored very low in IQ tests and had the “daily life skills” of a four-year-old child.

Ex-Missouri Governor Bob Holden (a Democrat) and the pope have requested that Johnson be spared. Emanuel Cleaver II and Cori Bush, U.S. House representatives from Missouri, asked for clemency.

Parson, who was charged with “brutal Murder” on Monday, denied Parson clemency.

Parson’s Office released a statement saying that Johnson’s assertion that he was not competent for execution has been rejected six times by juries and courts, as well as a unanimous decision of the Missouri Supreme Court.

Johnson was found guilty by a jury of murdering Mary Bratcher and Mabel Scrubbs using a hammer and screwdriver and a gun.

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Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.