Kansas City, Mo. – The judge who will become Missouri's next supreme court chief justice expects no more executions will be scheduled in the state until a crucial issue is settled.
The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has been asked to review the way executions are conducted. Judge William Ray Price Jr. will head the state high court bench beginning July First. The jurist said yesterday he doubts executions will be planned until the federal court makes a ruling.
Kansas City death penalty defense lawyer Joe Luby isn't surprised--in his words,"If executions are not carried out exactly the way State of Missouri's protocol is written, there's a distinct likelihood the prisoner could suffer almost unspeakable pain. So if we aren't using qualified people to carry out what really in Missouri is a very complicated protocol, then Missouri can't really reliably execute anyone."
The 8th circuit panel granted a stay of execution on June 5th for Reginald Clemons whose lawyers had argued the written execution directions are insufficient. Clemons was found guilty of pushing two rape victims into the Mississippi River, killing them. The April 1991 murder victims were 20-year-old Julie Kerry and 19-year-old Robin Kerry. The murder site was the abandoned Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis.