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Missouri executioners to remain secret

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – A bill that shields the identities of execution team members in Missouri has been signed into law by Governor Matt Blunt.

It makes any individual or news organization liable to civil lawsuits that publicize the names of anyone involved in executing a Death Row inmate.

Brian Hauswirth is spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections. He says the issue arose after the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published the name of a doctor involved in dozens of executions:

"The state of Missouri has executed 66 convicted murderers since 1989, and some of them have been gang members," Hauswirth said. "And the concern when the Post decided to print the identity of John Doe One, the concern was that he could have faced retribution, retaliation, not just about him, but his family they actually published the family members' names."

But a spokesperson for the Missouri Catholic Conference says the outing of the doctor in question centered on his competency as a physician, not his participation in executions.

The Missouri Catholic Conference claims the new law will remove oversight and accountability from capital punishment in Missouri.

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