Lawmakers and protesters are begging Missouri’s governor to halt the execution of Ernest Johnson this Tuesday.
Ernest Johnson was convicted in the killings of three Missouri convenience store employees in 1995. Johnson’s lawyers have argued that in 2008, an operation on a brain tumor left him with a fifth of his brain gone, rendering him intellectually disabled. They say killing him would be inhumane, according to The Root.
“The fact of the matter is that these death sentences are not about justice,” Democratic Reps. Emanuel Cleaver and Cori Bush wrote in a letter to Republican Missouri Gov. Michael L. Parson in hopes to stop the 61-year-old’s imminent execution, the Kansas City Star reports. “They are about who has institutional power and who doesn’t. Like slavery and lynching did before it, the death penalty perpetuates cycles of trauma, violence, and state-sanctioned murder in Black and brown communities.”
The Missouri representatives join the Pope, who has also pleaded for Johnson’s life to be spared.
The Daily Beast reports that “The Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S. also passed along a letter from Pope Francis to Gov. Parson this week with an ‘urgent plea’ to stop the execution, requesting clemency for Johnson to uphold the ‘sacredness of human life.’”
Johnson is scheduled to die by lethal injection at the state prison in Bonne Terre on Tuesday night.
Due to the operation on his brain tumor, doctors removed 20 percent of his brain tissue, and those fighting to save his life argue that his planned execution could cause him violent and painful seizures.
Protestors have called the execution cruel and unusual punishment.
Last week, dozens of people protested outside the Missouri Capitol on behalf of Johnson, including the ACLU of Missouri and the NAACP’s state chapter.
Parson has been silent amid mounting pressure to stop Johnson’s execution. We’ll keep you posted on any updates.
Want updates directly in your text inbox? Hit us up at 917-722-8057 or click here to join!