It is now up to the U.S. Supreme Court and Governor Jay Nixon (D) whether Missouri will carry out the execution of Richard Strong tomorrow.

Richard Strong (courtesy; Missouri Department of Corrections)

Richard Strong (courtesy; Missouri Department of Corrections)

Three arguments have been presented to the Supreme Court.

One is that the lethal injection poses a risk of pain and suffering that would violate his rights under the Constitution; another is that he has a serious mental illness that renders him incompetent to be executed. Neither of those, when raised, have been successful in blocking the past 15 executions in Missouri.

The other argument is that the jury that sentenced Strong to death was given improper instructions.

Governor Nixon has not decided whether he will grant clemency to Strong, as his daughters and mother have requested.  Nixon has only once granted clemency in a death penalty case, and has never stated his reasoning in that instance.

Barring an outcome that favors Strong in any of those efforts, Missouri will execute Strong sometime tomorrow night or Wednesday for the murders in 2000 of his girlfriend Eva Washington and her two-year-old daughter, Zandrea Thomas.