Gov. Mike Parson has declined to block the execution of convicted killer Russell Bucklew. The Missouri inmate is scheduled to die within a 24-hour window beginning at 6 p.m. today.
The U.S. Supreme Court could still block the execution, but earlier this year, it 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. His execution has been blocked twice by the highest court in the land – once in 2014 and once in 2018.
Bucklew could become the state’s 89th person to be executed since 1989. Missouri NAACP President Nimrod Chapel says if Bucklew’s execution happens, Missouri is expected to face an international human rights investigation.
“We’re creating a new floor for the least humane conditions that you can execute somebody,” says Chapel. “What we’re doing is not right. I don’t think there’s anybody that says that it is.”
He says Bucklew’s health warrants the man getting released from prison because Chapel says Bucklew is beyond the capacity to harm others.
“There’s some people that you can’t execute because of the nature of their physical condition, okay. He is one of these people,” says Chapel. “He won’t die as anticipated – you would simply fade away. This will be a cruel and inhumane death – literally gurgling and dying on your own blood.”
Bucklew is serving a death sentence for the 1996 murder of Michael Sanders of southeast Missouri’s Cape Girardeau. He also severely attacked his ex-girlfriend and whacked two of her relatives over the heads with a hammer. They survived the assaults. During the crime spree, Bucklew also go into a shootout with law enforcement and managed to survive a gun shot to the neck and head.