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Russell Bucklew executed after Gov. Parson declines clemency

Update as of 7 p.m.: Russell Bucklew was pronounced dead in a prison in Missouri just before 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson will not interfere with the scheduled execution of a man convicted of murder.

Parson’s office said he has declined to grant clemency to Russell Bucklew, who is scheduled to be executed Tuesday. Bucklew’s lawyers have argued his execution would be unconstitutional because of a rare condition that could cause him severe pain during the execution.

He is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Potosi Correctional Center in eastern Missouri.

Bucklew’s execution date has been moved three times but stopped over concerns about his medical condition. The condition causes blood-filled tumors to grow in his head, neck and throat. Bucklew has argued the throat tumor could burst during the execution, causing him to choke on his own blood.

The United States Supreme Court ruled in April that the state could go forward with the execution.

Activists protested at the governor’s office in the Missouri Capitol at noon Tuesday.

Co-Chair of the Columbia Chapter of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Laird Okie, said he hoped that the governor would change his mind and grant clemency.

“He shouldn’t walk the streets, he shouldn’t go free,” Okie said, “But the state shouldn’t compound the original murder by committing, in fact, another murder of this human being.”

He said while the demostration was to make a statement about the death penalty in general, this particular case is different because of the condition Bucklew suffers from.

“The death penalty is cruel anyway,” Okie said. “But this ia a particularly cruel and unusual punishment violating the 8th amendment to the constitution.”

Demonstrations by the same group also were scheduled at the Boone County Courthouse and Cole County Courthouse at 5 p.m.

A Boone County jury convicted Bucklew of first-degree murder, kidnapping and first degree burglary and recommended the death sentence, court documents show. The case out of Cape Girardeau County was heard in Columbia on a change of venue.

Bucklew was accused of fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend’s presumed new boyfriend, Michael Sanders, and firing at Sanders’ son, 6, before kidnapping her. After raping his ex-girlfriend, he engaged in a gunfight with authorities, during which Bucklew and a Missouri state trooper were injured, according to court documents.


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