The Missouri Supreme Court has set an October 1 execution date for Missouri inmate Russell Bucklew. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Bucklew’s argument that the state’s lethal injection drug would cause him cruel and unusual punishment because of his rare brain condition.
He was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1996 murder of his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend, Michael Sanders of southeast Missouri’s Cape Girardeau. Bucklew shot Sanders to death in front of his 6-year-old son, three other children and his ex-girlfriend, Stephanie Ray.
He then handcuffed Ray and dragged her out of the house. Bucklew took her to a remote area and raped her in the back seat of a car.
Many law enforcement officers were out searching for Bucklew. By the time the ex-couple made it to St. Louis, a state trooper and Bucklew exchanged gunfire. The 49-year-old survived two bullets in the shootout – one to the chest and one to the head.
Once Bucklew was in jail, he called Ray’s mother and threatened to kill her. Three months after entering jail, he became the first person in 15 years to escape from the Cape Girardeau County Jail. Bucklew fled by hiding in a trash bag that was later taken to a dumpster.
When Bucklew escaped, he went straight after Ray’s mother, Barbara Pruitt. He went to her home, armed with a hammer, and struck her over the head several times. Pruitt’s fiancé intervened and was also whacked over the head with the hammer. Both victims managed to survive.
Bucklew fled in a stolen a car and was captured about 30 minutes later by law enforcement.
The execution is scheduled to take place at the maximum security prison in southeast Missouri’s Bonne Terre.
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