A federal judge in Kansas City has halted next week’s scheduled execution of convicted killer Michael Tisius. U.S. District Judge Stephen Bough ruled today that the execution cannot go forward until a hearing is conducted on whether a juror during Tisius’ trial should’ve been excluded. According to the Kansas City Star, the unidentified juror didn’t know how to read or write, which is required by state law for anyone to be able to serve on a jury.

Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty (MADP) gathered this week in the first floor rotunda at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City. Members of the group, led by Executive Director Elyse Max, delivered a petition of about 3,500 names to the desk of Gov. Mike Parson, asking him to show mercy to Tisius, who still could face the death penalty at a later time.

“We’re hoping that the governor will consider clemency because of evolving standards of decency,” she said. “Michael was 19 at the time of the crime, and he isn’t a future dangerousness to anyone. He hasn’t had a violent infraction while incarcerated in over two decades. This is the third person we’ll have executed in 2023.”

Amidst this current legal challenge, Nimrod Chapel, Jr., who attended the event, said that the hang-up lies solely with the fact that Tisius was 19 at the time of the crime, and that he shouldn’t be killed because his brain wasn’t fully developed.

“We’ve continued our culture of death in such a way that it’s almost as if it’s a pursuit, even though we recognize that the ultimate ends of that aim have no real justification,” he explained. “So, in the law, I think we’ve recognized that if you are a person who is in this classification, who is younger than 21, that you should not be executed. Here, we have a clear, clear case of it and it’s unfortunate because I think Missouri could really make better choices.”

Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, led the rally by calling for a change at the top.

“Every time we put someone to death, what we’re saying to the people in Missouri is that killing people you’re mad at is an appropriate response,” Merideth said.

Tisius was scheduled to be put to death following his conviction over killing two unarmed Randolph County jail workers in a plot to break out an inmate in 2000.

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