Of all the prison inmates facing a death penalty in Missouri, the one Attorney General most wants to see executed is Theodore Boliek, who killed his lover 21 years ago with a shotgun blast to the face. But seven years ago, Governor Mel Carnahan issued a stay – just two days before Boliek was to die – and set up a board of inquiry to examine his case and recommend to Carnahan whether Boliek should be granted clemency.

The recommendations to Carnahan are secret and Carnahan was killed in the plane crash before he took any action. The lawyer for Governor Bob Holden, David Cosgrove, says Holden decided not to superscede Carnahan’s use of his constitutional powers. The man who was Carnahan’s chief counsel says it might be impossible to do anything about the situation because the wording of Carnahan’s stay of execution and of the order calling the review board made the process one on which only he could act. He never acted on the findings before he died. Theodore Boliek remains under a death sentence that lawyers say might never be carried out – because it can’t be.