List of people executed in Missouri

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A total of 78 individuals convicted of murder have been executed by the state of Missouri since 1976. All were by executed by lethal injection. All executions in Missouri were suspended between June 26, 2006, and June 4, 2007, due to a federal court ruling (see below). Executionss resumed on May 20, 2009.


The first person executed in the modern era was George Mercer who was executed at the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City, Missouri on January 6, 1989.[1] The next 61 executions starting with Gerald Smith were done at the Potosi Correctional Center in Potosi, Missouri. Since 2005, executions have been 25 miles east of Potosi at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri. The first execution at Bonne Terre was #63 Donald Jones. Missouri does not have a "Death Row".

Typically, the death warrant will be read to the inmate (handed down from the Missouri Supreme Court) 30 days prior to the date of execution. At this point, the inmate is either moved to protective custody or remains in solitary isolation. One week prior to the execution date, the inmate is moved to the medical confinement unit. This is to ensure that the inmate's interaction with other inmates and visitors is closely monitored. There is no contact allowed with the condemned inmate at this time. Three days prior, a medicinal regiment is started. Anxiolytics are started, and the inmate's religious instructor and legal services are the only ones allowed to see the inmate. For the last 24 hours, the inmate chooses his or her final meal. He or she is medicated for anxiety as needed. The viewing gallery is set up. One hour before the time, the inmate is offered last rites. Ten minutes before the time, the inmate is either wheeled into the chamber in a wheelchair, or he or she may walk. At this point, the doctors will place two central lines. Then, the three doctors will exit to a room behind the chamber. During this time, the witnesses have been led in, with the victim(s)'s witnesses entering from one side of the unit and the inmate's witnesses from the other side. When ready, the curtains will be opened. The inmate will be read the warrant again, and asked for any last statements. The warden is present and will give the order shortly after midnight. The three doctors will simultaneously push a button to start the machine to begin the process. After a doctor pronounces the inmate as expired, the curtains are closed. The witnesses are then escorted out of the facility, and the coroner retrieves the body, as the room is classified as a crime scene. The death certificate will read "cause of death: Homicide-legal:___________" (the space is for the warrant number). Once the body has left the facility, it will be announced over the radio that "the new inmate count is__, begin count." Each housing unit will conduct a count, and there will be no change, except that now the medical unit will report a count of zero inmates. The command will confirm the count, then order the Emergency Squad to stand down.


Executed person Date of execution Victim(s) Presiding governor
1 George Mercer January 6, 1989 Karen Keeton John Ashcroft
2 Gerald Smith January 18, 1990 Karen Roberts John Ashcroft
3 Winford L. Stokes, Jr. May 11, 1990 Pamela Brenda John Ashcroft
4 Leonard Marvin Laws May 17, 1990 John Seward, Clarence Williams, Lottie Williams John Ashcroft
5 George Clifton Gilmore August 21, 1990 Mary Luella Watters, Clarence Williams, Lottie Williams John Ashcroft
6 Maurice Oscar Byrd August 23, 1991 Judy Cazaco, James Wood, Edna Ince, and Carolyn Turner John Ashcroft
7 Ricky Lee Grubs October 21, 1992 Jerry Thornton John Ashcroft
8 Martsay Bolder January 27, 1993 Theron King Mel Carnahan
9 Walter Junior Blair July 21, 1993 Kathy Jo Allen Mel Carnahan
10 Frederick Lasley July 28, 1993 Janie Tracy Mel Carnahan
11 Frank Joseph Guinan October 6, 1993 John McBroom Mel Carnahan
12 Emmitt Foster May 3, 1995 Travis Walker Mel Carnahan
13 Larry Griffin June 21, 1995 Quintin Moss Mel Carnahan
14 Robert Anthony Murray July 26, 1995 Jeffrey Jackson and Craig Stewart Mel Carnahan
15 Robert T. Sidebottom November 15, 1995 Mary Sidebottom. Mel Carnahan
16 Anthony Joe Larette November 29, 1995 Mary Fleming Mel Carnahan
17 Robert Earl O'Neal December 6, 1995 Arthur Dale. Mel Carnahan
18 Jeffrey Paul Sloan February 21, 1996 Jason Sloan Mel Carnahan
19 Doyle James Williams April 10, 1996 A. H. Domann Mel Carnahan
20 Emmett Clifton Nave July 31, 1996 Geneva Roling Mel Carnahan
21 Thomas Henry Battle August 7, 1996 Birdie Johnson Mel Carnahan
22 Richard Oxford August 21, 1996 Harold Wampler and Melba Wampler Mel Carnahan
23 Richard Steven Zeitvogel December 11, 1996 Gary Wayne Dew Mel Carnahan
24 Eric Adam Schneider January 29, 1997 Richard Schwendeman and Ronald Thompson Mel Carnahan
25 Ralph Cecil Feltrop August 6, 1997 Barbara Ann Roam Mel Carnahan
26 Donald Edward Reese August 13, 1997 James Watson, Christopher Griffith, John Buford, and Don Vanderlinden Mel Carnahan
27 Andrew Wessel Six August 20, 1997 Kathy Allen Mel Carnahan
28 Samuel Lee McDonald, Jr. September 24, 1997 Robert Jordan Mel Carnahan
29 Alan Jeffrey Bannister October 24, 1997 Darrell Ruestman Mel Carnahan
30 Reginald Love Powell February 25, 1998 Freddie Miller and Arthur Miller Mel Carnahan
31 Milton Vincent Griffin-El March 25, 1998 Jerome Redden Mel Carnahan
32 Glennon Paul Sweet April 22, 1998 Missouri State Trooper Russell Harper Mel Carnahan
33 Kelvin Shelby Malone January 13, 1999 William Parr (he was also sentenced to death by the state of California) Mel Carnahan
34 James Edward Rodden, Jr. February 24, 1999 Terry Trunnel and Joseph Arnold Mel Carnahan
35 Roy Michael Roberts March 10, 1999 Correctional officer Tom Jackson Mel Carnahan
36 Roy Ramsey, Jr. April 14, 1999 Garnett Ledford and Betty Ledford Mel Carnahan
37 Ralph E. Davis April 28, 1999 Susan Davis Mel Carnahan
38 Jessie Lee Wise May 26, 1999 Geraldine McDonald Mel Carnahan
39 Bruce Kilgore June 16, 1999 Marilyn Wilkins Mel Carnahan
40 Robert Allen Walls June 30, 1999 Fred Harmon Mel Carnahan
41 David R. Leisure September 1, 1999 James A. Michaels, Sr Mel Carnahan
42 James Henry Hampton March 22, 2000 Frances Keaton Mel Carnahan
43 Bart Leroy Hunter June 28, 2000 Mildred Hodges and Richard Hodges Mel Carnahan
44 Gary Lee Roll August 30, 2000 Sherry Scheper, Randy Scheper and Curtis Scheper Mel Carnahan
45 George Bernard Harris September 13, 2000 Stanley Willoughby Mel Carnahan
46 James Wilson Chambers November 15, 2000 Jerry Lee Oestricker Roger B. Wilson
47 Stanley Dewaine Lingar February 7, 2001 Thomas Scott Allen Bob Holden
48 Tomas Grant Ervin March 28, 2001 Mildred Hodges and Richard Hodges Bob Holden
49 Mose Young, Jr. April 25, 2001 Kent Bicknese, James Schneider and Sol Marks Bob Holden
50 Samuel D. Smith May 23, 2001 Marlin May Bob Holden
51 Jerome Mallett July 11, 2001 Missouri State Trooper James F. Froemsdorf Bob Holden
52 Michael S. Roberts October 3, 2001 Mary L. Taylor Bob Holden
53 Stephen K. Johns October 24, 2001 Donald Voepel Bob Holden
54 James R. Johnson January 9, 2002 Deputy Sheriff Leslie B. Roark, Pam Jones, Sheriff Charles Smith, and Deputy Sheriff Sandra Wilson Bob Holden
55 Michael I. Owsley February 6, 2002 Elvin Iverson Bob Holden
56 Jeffrey Lane Tokar March 6, 2002 Johnny Douglass Bob Holden
57 Paul W. Kreutzer April 10, 2002 Louise Hemphill Bob Holden
58 Daniel Anthony Basile August 14, 2002 Elizabeth DeCaro Bob Holden
59 William Robert Jones, Jr. November 20, 2002 Stanley Albert Bob Holden
60 Kenneth Kenley February 5, 2003 Ronald Felts Bob Holden
61 John Clayton Smith October 29, 2003 Brandie Kearnes and Wayne Hoewing Bob Holden
62 Stanley L. Hall March 16, 2005 Barbara Jo Wood Matt Blunt
63 Donald Jones April 27, 2005 Dorothy Knuckles Matt Blunt
64 Vernon Brown May 17, 2005 Janet Perkins (he was also under sentence of death in the murder of Synetta Ford) Matt Blunt
65 Timothy L. Johnston August 31, 2005 Nancy Johnston Matt Blunt
66 Marlin Gray October 26, 2005 Julie Kerry and Robin Kerry Matt Blunt
67 Dennis James Skillicorn May 20, 2009 Richard Drummond Jay Nixon
68 Martin C. Link February 9, 2011 Elissa Self Jay Nixon
69 Joseph Paul Franklin November 20, 2013 Gerald Gordon Jay Nixon
70 Allen L. Nicklasson December 11, 2013 Richard Drummond Jay Nixon
71 Herbert L. Smulls January 29, 2014 Stephen Honickman Jay Nixon
72 Michael Anthony Taylor February 26, 2014 Ann Harrison Jay Nixon
73 Jeffrey R. Ferguson March 26, 2014 Kelli Hall Jay Nixon
74 William L. Rousan April 23, 2014 Charles and Grace Lewis Jay Nixon
75 John E. Winfield June 18, 2014 Arthea Sanders and Shawnee Murphy Jay Nixon
76 John C. Middleton July 16, 2014 Alfred Pinegar, Stacy Hodge and Randy Hamilton Jay Nixon
77 Michael Shane Worthington[2] August 6, 2014 Melinda Griffin Jay Nixon
78 Earl Ringo, Jr. September 10, 2014 Dennis Poyser and Joanna Baysinger Jay Nixon

Temporary suspension[edit]

On June 26, 2006, U.S. District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri in Kansas City suspended Missouri's death penalty after lengthy hearings on the matter. Judge Gaitan reasoned that the state's lethal injection protocol did not satisfy the Eighth Amendment because (1) the written procedures for implementing lethal injections were too vague, and (2) the state had no qualified anesthesiologist to perform lethal injections. Jay Nixon, the Missouri Attorney General, promptly appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis.

The Eighth Circuit held oral argument in the case on January 10, 2007, and a decision was released on June 4, 2007. The case is number 06-3651, Taylor v. Crawford. The Court reversed the decision of the district court and vacated the injunction, allowing for the death penalty to resume. The court found:

  • 1. Risk of accident in carrying out of execution protocol does not form basis for claim of cruel and unusual punishment in violation of Eighth Amendment; rather, inquiry on challenge to execution protocol is whether it inherently imposes constitutionally significant risk of pain.
  • 2. State's lethal injection protocol, utilizing sodium pentothal (thiopental), pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride, did not involve substantial foreseeable risk of wanton infliction of pain, and thus did not have to mandate participation of anesthesiologist or additional monitoring equipment in order to comport with Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment; written protocol called for ample quantity of thiopental to cause unconsciousness, and mandated medical supervision by physician, emergency medical technician or nurse, including examination to confirm unconsciousness prior to third injection.

The first execution since Gaitan's ruling was on May 20, 2009. This suspension was partly due to a national de facto moratorium while the Supreme Court of the United States decided Baze v. Rees. The court set the first Missouri post-Baze execution date in June 2008. For various reasons no executions were conducted until May 20, 2009[3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Missouri Death Row - Retrieved May 20, 2009
  2. ^ Suhr, Jim (August 6, 2014). "Missouri puts to death first inmate since botched execution". USA Today. AP. 
  3. ^ Jeremy Kohler, Court holds back Missouri execution, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 15, 2008.
  4. ^ Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty

External links[edit]