Missouri has executed its 129th inmate. Kevin Johnson took his last breath at the state prison in Bonne Terre Tuesday. He was pronounced dead at 7:40 p.m.

Johnson, 37, was in prison for about 17 years before being put to death.

Photo courtesy of Missouri Department of Corrections

He was given the death sentence for the July 5, 2005 killing of Kirkwood Police Sgt. Bill McEntee. He fired seven gun shots at McEntee and killed the officer in front of witnesses.

Johnson was 19 at the time of the shooting. He blamed McEntee and other officers for the death of his brother, who died earlier that day. Johnson said they would not let his mother help the child, who was having a seizure and eventually died.

McEntee had a wife and three children. His wife, Mary, spoke after the execution.

Mary McEntee speaks after the execution of Kevin Johnson

She said her husband was ambushed and shot five times in his police car.

“He crashed his car up the street and Kevin Johnson decided to be judge, jury, and executioner when he walked back to Bill’s car. Bill was on his hands and knees in his own pool of blood when Kevin Johnson shot him two more times execution style in the back of his head. Bill was killed on his hands and knees in the front of strangers and people he dedicated his life to. When he left for work that day, we could not imagine that he would be executed by someone he gave his life to protect. It took 17 years of grieving and pushing forward to get to this point today. This is something I hope no other family has to go through because you truly never forget or get over,” she said.

Missourinet served as a state witness to Tuesday’s execution. Johnson was covered in a white sheet to the chest and wearing a grey top. He did not appear to suffer after he was given five grams of pentobarbital. With a spiritual advisor beside him, Johnson appeared to drift off in about one minute.

He did not leave a final statement.

There were four witnesses there on behalf of Johnson. Three were there for McEntee. Seven served as a witness for the state.

The Missouri Department of Corrections says at least 125 protesters were outside of the prison Tuesday.

Despite several legal attempts to block the procedure, he died by lethal injection at the maximum-security prison in southeast Missouri.

A federal judge ruled that Johnson’s daughter, Khorry Ramey, could not witness her father’s execution. Missouri law bars people under the age of 21 from witnessing an execution.

Ramey, 19, and the ACLU, argued that the statute violates Ramey’s constitutional rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Her complaint asked the court to prevent the state from executing Johnson unless Ramey was allowed to attend as a witness.

In a last-minute hearing Monday before the Missouri Supreme Court, Edward Keenan, a 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.

The high court denied Johnson’s request to stay his execution.

Gov. Mike Parson declined to intervene.

Copyright © 2022 · Missourinet