The state Supreme Court has ordered the execution of a man who murdered three people in the robbery of a Casey’s store in Columbia in February, 1994. Ernest Lee Johnson is scheduled to die by lethal injection between 6 p.m. November 3 and 5:59 p.m. November 4 at the state prison in Bonne Terre.
Johnson was convicted of killing Mary Bratcher, Mable Scruggs, and Fred Jones using a hammer. He was tied to the crime by several pieces of evidence, including money, checks, and a cash register receipt all from the store; bloody clothing; and a pair of tennis shoes that matched bloody footprints left at the scene.
Johnson has lost several appeals including one that sought a new penalty phase, based on arguments that his counsel was not effective and that an unqualified expert witness testified about an alleged mental deficiency.
Missouri is next scheduled to execute Kimber Edwards, who was sentenced to death for hiring another man to murder his ex-wife in 2000. His execution is scheduled for October 6.