The state has executed a man who killed three people in Dent County more than thirteen years ago.
Earl Forrest wanted close friend Harriett Smith to buy him a lawnmower because he had told her of a reliable supplier of methamphetamine. Two weeks before Christmas in 2002 he went to Smith’s house, killed a visitor and then shot Smith ten times when she tried to escape. He took a lockbox filled with meth. He estimated its value at $25-thousand.
When two sheriff’s officers went to Forrest’s mobile home, Forrest shot and killed deputy JoAnn Barnes and wounded sheriff Bob Wofford. Forrest and his girlfriend were wounded in the exchange before Forrest surrendered.
A jury later convicted Forrest of three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced him to death on all three counts.
It took only six minutes for five grams of pentobarbital to end his life, at 7:18 last night. He left no final statement. The family of Deputy Barnes issued a statement saying the execution ends “a long, painful, and tragic chapter” in their lives but it “destroyed an evil persona that otherwise would be still walking on this earth.” It said his family had more than thirteen years to say goodbye while the Barnes family had been robbed of that opportunity.
Forrest never expressed public remorse for his acts and left no final statement.
His execution is Missouri’s first this year and the first since the execution of Roderick Nunley last September. He also was suspected of a murder in the state of California.
Twenty-five men remain under the death sentence in Missouri. It appears all still have numerous appeals left. No one has been sentenced to death by a Missouri jury since 2013.