43-year-old Michael Shane Worthington is scheduled to be executed early the morning of August 6 for the 1995 murder of his neighbor, Melinda Griffin. Griffin was found raped and strangled in her Lake St. Louis condo.
Worthington, like other convicted men, their attorneys, and death penalty critics, say Missouri’s execution protocol is wrong for keeping secret details about procedures and drugs used, and for using compounding pharmacies that they claim could produce faulty drugs.
Such critics say compounding pharmacies have a history of producing drugs that are too potent or too weak, and could cause an inmate to suffer, which would violate the Constitutional prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
Worthington has strong words for Governor Jay Nixon (D) and the state.
AUDIO: (21 seconds) “Basically he’s no different than a Joseph Mengele and Adolph Hitler, you know what I mean? This place is a baby Auschwitz,” Worthington tells Missourinet. “They’re just marching us through there and experimenting on us like Joseph Mengele did. That’s why they called him the angel of death. Nixon and his people are no different.”
Worthington says compounding pharmacies are, “basically a meth lab. It’s really no different. These people might be educated, but they’re making drugs to kill us and then they want to hide behind the secrecy clause.”
“We’re told it’s pentobarbital but we don’t really know it is,” says Worthington of the execution drug. “We’re just told it us. We’re not allowed to know where it comes from so we can’t investigate to make sure that the company … what complaints have been against them.”
Ready to be executed
Worthington says he is prepared to die. He just believes the way the state carries out executions is wrong.
“I know where I’m going. I know I’m saved. I know I’ll be okay. I know I’m forgiven. I know I messed up in life,” says Worthington. “My life’s been hell and horrible. I don’t want to die [in prison] an old man, so getting it over with now is perfectly fine with me. They’re doing me a favor. I don’t like the way they go about doing the things they do, but I’m perfectly willing to go. I’ve had no fear of death.”
Worthington claims drugs and alcohol robbed him of his memories of the night of the murder, and says those drugs and alcohol also likely rendered him “impotent,” and unable to have attacked Griffin. He claims two other men were likely responsible; men with whom he had an association and whom he believed went into Griffin’s apartment to commit a burglary.
Griffin’s mother, Carol Angelbeck, says she’s heard that claim before, and says it was proven to be false.
“He says that [those two men] had unplugged all of Mindy’s … her television and everything and when my husband went in when they gave us the condo back …nothing was touched, so that was a lie,” says Angelbeck.
Worthington tells Missourinet that his attorneys urged him to confess and coached him on what to say, and says parts of his confession didn’t match the case.
Angelbeck doesn’t believe that, either.
“He pled guilty in open court, under oath, and he gave a blow-by-blow description of what he did to Mindy,” says Angelbeck, who says he described the crime matter-of-factly to the court. “He strangled her twice,” she says.
Most upsetting to Angelbeck was that Worthington also tells Missourinet that he had a friendly relationship with Griffin, but Angelbeck says she’s actually relieved to know what he’s saying about the crime today.
“As a decent human being and as a Christian I really was feeling a little bit sorry for him maybe,” says Angelbeck, “and this proved to me that he is never sorry, he still won’t take responsibility, so his sentence is right and it should stand.”
Asked what he would say to Angelbeck, Worthington says it hurts to know that he was the cause of Griffin’s death, saying that the two men he believes were responsible knew of Griffin through him.
“I could have possibly been there that night. I don’t know,” says Worthington. “I don’t know what it was, but yes I’m guilty in part … whether I was the actual killer or whether I was the actual one that raped her, it doesn’t matter to me. I still feel guilty in my heart.”
Worthington is set to have a clemency hearing Thursday. Governor Nixon will decide whether to grant him clemency.
Angelbeck tells Missourinet she still plans to witness Worthington’s execution.