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Missouri's first execution since 2005 set for Wednesday

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Dennis Skillicorn

By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis – Three-and-a-half years after the last execution in Missouri, the state is set to put a convicted murderer to death this week.

Dennis Skillicorn is scheduled to die by lethal injection early Wednesday morning for his part in the fatal shooting of Richard Drummond of Excelsior Springs in 1994.

Colleen Cunningham with Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty said that in addition to questions about Skillicorn's role in the murder, his work while in prison has received praise from some corrections officials.

"If we have an individual who's creating a safer climate in our prisons, I think that merits a really hard consideration for clemency if keeping him alive is going to keep our prison workers safer," Cunningham said.

However others including State Representative Bob Nance of Excelsior Springs said Skillicorn's so-called "rehabilitation" in prison should not affect his death sentence.

"I'm very happy to see that he has, I'll say repented, and he is doing so many good things in the prison," Nance said. "But the system is still the system. He still was a participant in those killings and he will get what he deserves."

Governor Jay Nixon has not indicated whether he will delay the execution or commute Skillicorn's sentence.

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