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Ex-governor calls for clemency for Missouri death row inmate

Ernest Johnson.jpg
Posted at 4:07 PM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 17:07:44-04

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A former Missouri governor is urging the current occupant of the office to grant clemency to a convicted killer who is days away from facing execution.

Democrat Bob Holden was elected in 2000 and served one term. In a commentary for the Missouri Independent, Holden notes that he supports capital punishment in principle, evidenced by the 20 executions that occurred during his time in office.

But Holden writes that Republican Gov. Mike Parson should halt the execution of Ernest Johnson, scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the state prison in Bonne Terre.

Holden writes that he concurs with advocates who say Johnson is intellectually and developmentally disabled. The U.S. Constitution prohibits the execution of the mentally disabled.

Parson was still weighing clemency as of Friday. Johnson's lawyers also have asked the Missouri Supreme Court to reconsider the case.

Johnson would be the first Missouri inmate put to death since May 2020.