The state of Missouri is on track to execute Kevin Johnson on Tuesday. After a last-minute hearing Monday, the Missouri Supreme Court has denied requests intended to block the state’s planned execution of Johnson.
Johnson, 37, was sentenced to death for the 2005 killing of Kirkwood Police Sgt. Bill McEntee. He has been in prison for nearly 20 years for firing seven gun shots at McEntee and killing the officer in front of witnesses.
In Monday’s hearing, Edward Keenan, a court-appointed special prosecutor, said there was racial bias involved in Johnson’s 2007 sentencing. Johnson’s lawyers say the death penalty was disproportionately served to defendants whose victims were white during the era of former St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch, who served from 1991 to 2019.
Assistant Attorney General Andrew Crane said that claim lacks merit and the execution should move forward. The Missouri Attorney General’s Office said that “the surviving victims of Johnson’s crimes have waited long enough for justice.”
Gov. Mike Parson says he will not grant clemency to Johnson.
Johnson is scheduled to be put to death at the maximum-security prison in Bonne Terre during a 24-hour window that begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Missourinet is serving as a state witness to the execution.
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