BONNE TERRE, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on the execution of Russell Bucklew in Missouri (all times local):
A Missouri inmate has been executed for killing a man in 1996 in a string of violence that included several other crimes, despite concerns that the prisoner’s rare medical condition would cause a gruesome lethal injection.
Russell Bucklew was put to death Tuesday evening at the state prison in Bonne Terre. It was Missouri’s first execution since January 2017.
Bucklew looked around and twitched his feet beneath the sheet as he lay on the gurney just before the lethal injection. He suddenly took a deep breath and all movement stopped. There were no outward signs of distress.
Bucklew had twice previously been within hours of execution, only to have the U.S. Supreme Court grant last-minute reprieves over concerns that Bucklew might suffer during the execution process. He had a condition called cavernous hemangioma and had blood-filled tumors in his head, neck and throat.
Bucklew killed Michael Sanders in March 1996, raped his former girlfriend, shot a state trooper and, after escaping from jail, attacked his ex-girlfriend’s mother and her boyfriend with a hammer.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has denied clemency for a convicted killer hours before the man is scheduled to be put to death.
Russell Bucklew has a rare medical condition that his attorneys say could result in a gruesome execution, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Defense attorney Cheryl Pilate confirmed Parson denied clemency.
Bucklew was convicted of killing Michael Sanders in 1996.
He suffers from cavernous hemangioma. He has blood-filled tumors in his head, neck and throat. A permanent tracheostomy in his throat helps him breathe. His attorneys said in the clemency request that if one of the throat tumors bursts, Bucklew could choke to death.
The U.S. Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for the execution in April; Pilate didn’t say if any last-minute court appeals are planned.
The fate of a condemned Missouri inmate rests with Gov. Mike Parson, who must decide if the risk posed by Russell Bucklew’s unusual medical condition is grave enough to halt his execution.
Bucklew is scheduled to be put to death Tuesday evening for killing a man during a violent 1996 crime spree. The U.S. Supreme Court in April gave the go-ahead for Bucklew to be executed, so court appeals appear to be exhausted.
Parson, a Republican supporter of the death penalty, is weighing a clemency request.
Bucklew suffers from cavernous hemangioma. He has blood-filled tumors in his head, neck and throat. A permanent tracheostomy in his throat helps him breathe. His attorneys say in the clemency request that if one of the throat tumors bursts, Bucklew could choke to death.