Early Wednesday morning, Missouri executed its 9th man this year.
In 1994, Leon Taylor killed 53-year-old Robert Newton, a clerk, as part of a gas station robbery. Taylor then pointed the gun at Newton's 8-year-old daughter, who had just seen her stepfather killed, but the gun didn't fire.
Just hours before it was scheduled to begin, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed Missouri inmate Mark Christeson's execution. He was set to be put to death for killing a southern Missouri woman and her two children in 1998.
The Supreme Court granted a temporary stay over concerns that Christeson's case had no federal review. Justices will consider whether there should be oral arguments in the case.
If the high court were to remove its stay, the Missouri Supreme Court would have to set a new execution date. December would be the earliest date that it could be set.
Legal questions surrounding Michael Brown’s death and events in Ferguson again dominated the conversation among our legal roundtable.
Justice Department Investigations
The Justice Department has three roles in Ferguson, said William Freivogel, director of the school of journalism at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. First: A criminal investigation, independent of the state’s investigation.
Missouri prison officials said under oath that they would not use midazolam in executions. But a St. Louis Public Radio investigation revealed last week that the state has used it in nine executions since 2013.
No state has carried out more executions than Missouri this year. Early this morning, Missouri carried out its eighth execution of 2014.
Earl Ringo was put to death for killing two people during a robbery that went bad in Columbia.
"Ringo was convicted of the murders of Dennis Poyser and Joanna Baysinger during the robbery of a restaurant in Columbia," Gov. Jay Nixon said in a statement denying clemency. "Both were shot to death brutally, without mercy. The evidence that was presented at trial left no doubt about Ringo’s guilt."
Even as the state prepares for another execution at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, two separate cases charge that the state's lethal injection method amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.
On Tuesday morning, a federal appeals court heard arguments in two lawsuits brought by inmates on death row against the Department of Corrections, alleging the state's execution methods violate the Eighth Amendment, the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
For the fourth time this year, an inmate's lethal injection did not go as planned. Last night, it was Arizona, but the state has company.
An Ohio inmate took 25 minutes to die in January. In Oklahoma, there were two apparent botches: In one, an inmate said, "I feel my whole body burning," and in another, the prisoner took more than 40 minutes to die.
But Arizona's execution took even longer. Joseph Wood's execution began at 1:52 p.m., and he died nearly two hours later at 3:49 p.m.