A Missouri inmate convicted of ambushing and killing a St. Louis space police officer he blamed within the demise of his youthful brother was executed Tuesday night time.
Kevin Johnson, 37, died after an injection of pentobarbital on the state jail in Bonne Terre. It was the state’s second execution this yr and the seventeenth nationally. Two extra executions are scheduled in Missouri for the primary few weeks of 2023.
Johnson’s attorneys did not deny that he killed Officer William McEntee in 2005, however contended he was sentenced to demise partially as a result of he’s Black. The courts and Republican Gov. Mike Parson declined to cease the execution.
McEntee, 43, was a 20-year veteran of the police division in Kirkwood, a St. Louis suburb. A husband and father of three, he was among the many officers despatched to Johnson’s dwelling on July 5, 2005, to serve a warrant for his arrest. Johnson was on probation for assaulting his girlfriend, and police believed he had violated probation.
Johnson noticed officers arrive and awoke his 12-year-old brother, Joseph “Bam Bam” Long, who ran to a home subsequent door. Once there, the boy, who suffered from a congenital coronary heart defect, collapsed and started having a seizure.
Johnson testified at trial that McEntee stored his mom from coming into the home to assist his brother, who died a short while later at a hospital.
That night, McEntee returned to the neighborhood to verify on unrelated reviews of fireworks being shot off. A court docket submitting from the Missouri lawyer basic’s workplace stated McEntee was in his automotive questioning three youngsters when Johnson shot him by way of the open passenger-side window, placing the officer’s leg, head and torso. A teen was struck however survived. Johnson then acquired into the automotive and took McEntee’s gun.
The court docket submitting stated Johnson walked down the road and instructed his mom that McEntee “let my brother die” and “needs to see what it feels like to die.” Though she instructed him, “That’s not true,” Johnson returned to the taking pictures scene and located McEntee alive, on his knees close to the patrol automotive. Johnson shot McEntee within the again and within the head, killing him.
Johnson’s legal professionals beforehand requested the courts to intervene for different causes, together with a historical past of psychological sickness and his age — 19 — on the time of the crime. Courts have more and more moved away from sentencing teen offenders to demise because the Supreme Court in 2005 banned the execution of offenders who had been youthful than 18 on the time of their crime.
But a broader focus of appeals alleged racial bias. In October, St. Louis Circuit Judge Mary Elizabeth Ott appointed a particular prosecutor to overview the case. The particular prosecutor, E.E. Keenan, filed a movement earlier this month to vacate the demise sentence, stating that race performed a “decisive factor” within the demise sentence.
Ott declined to halt the execution, and appeals to the Missouri Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court had been turned apart.
Keenan’s court docket submitting stated former St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s workplace dealt with 5 instances involving the deaths of law enforcement officials throughout his 28 years in workplace. McCulloch sought the demise penalty within the 4 instances involving Black defendants, however didn’t search demise within the one case the place the defendant was white, the file stated.
McCulloch’s father was a police officer killed within the line of obligation. McCulloch doesn’t have a listed telephone quantity and couldn’t be reached for remark.
Johnson’s 19-year-old daughter, Khorry Ramey, had, however a state legislation prohibits anybody underneath 21 from observing the method. Courts declined to step in on Ramey’s behalf.
The U.S. noticed 98 executions in 1999 however the quantity has dropped dramatically lately. Missouri already has two scheduled for early 2023. Convicted killer Scott McLaughlin is scheduled to die on Jan. 3, and convicted killer Leonard Taylor’s execution is ready for Feb. 7.