Missouri executed death row inmate Walter Storey on February 11th after the US Supreme Court denied his requested stay of execution. He challenged his execution based on Missouri’s refusal to disclose the name of the compounding pharmacy supplying the pentobarbital for use in his lethal injection. Storey also challenged the use of midazolam as a sedative. In the past the Supreme Court granted stays of execution due to the question of midazolam being a strong enough anesthetic to use as part of a lethal injection cocktail. After a rash of botched executions, numerous states have refused to disclose the identities of compounding pharmacies for their lethal injection drugs.
Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty believe these secrecy practices erode the transparency of the death penalty process and inhibits essential government oversight. We believe this far outweighs the argument to protect individuals from being personally harassed for doing their jobs of carrying out the execution. Nonetheless, the string of executions still go on in Missouri and more are to come. Cecil Clayton is scheduled to be executed on March 17th followed by Andre Cole on April 14th.
Cecil lost a significant portion of his brain as a result of an industrial accident when a projectile shot from a working saw shattered the frontal lobe of his brain. The loss of brain tissue deeply altered Cecil’s behavior. He began experiencing paranoid delusions, schizophrenia, and organic personality changes. His current IQ is 71. Pursuant to the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in numerous cases against executing people with severe mental illness or intellectual disabilities. Missouri law states: “no person condemned to death shall be executed if as a result of mental disease or defect he lacks capacity to understand the nature and purpose of the punishment about to be imposed on him.” Yet the process for determining capacity relies solely on individuals within the correctional system, with no opportunity for outsiders to question those judgments. Experts have found that Cecil lacks the capacity to understand judicial proceedings or aid in his defense.
I encourage you all to come to the Sr. Helen Prejean workshop on March 7th at St. Francis Parish in St. Joseph to learn more about how you can take action against this senseless killing.
Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.