In affidavits, four jurors and two alternates from Michael Tisius’s trial in 2010 said they would back clemency in his case. On June 6, 2023, Mr. Tisius will be put to death in Missouri. In his petition for clemency and in interviews with the New York Times, the jurors said that mitigating information that wasn’t shown at trial would have changed how they decided to sentence him.
Lawyers for Mr. Tisius talked to the jury and told them about the abuse and neglect he had as a child, his mental problems, how sorry he was for the crime, and how well he had behaved in jail. One judge said, “I think people can change and should be given a second chance.”
Another person said in response to the new information, “Based on what I’ve learned since the trial, I wouldn’t mind if Mr. Tisius’ sentence was changed to life without parole at this time.”
Jason Smith, a third judge, told the New York Times, “I feel angry and sad. I feel like I did Michael wrong. I hated being part of someone’s death. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said that six jurors changing their minds was “an unusually high rate of heart changes from a jury.”
On May 31, a U.S. District Court put a hold on the execution so that new proof that one juror should not have been on the jury because he couldn’t read English could be looked at. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit took away the stay on June 2, saying that the lower court did not have the power to order the stay.
The tweet below shows the Final statement of Michael Tisius:
This is the final statement of Michael Tisius who was executed tonight in Missouri. Take a minute to read it.
The death penalty doesn’t heal the wounds of violence. It just mirrors the violence & creates new wounds. It’s time to stop killing to try to show that killing is wrong. pic.twitter.com/tOtYpDNiJE
— Shane Claiborne (@ShaneClaiborne) June 7, 2023
On June 5, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would not look into a plea from Mr. Tisius’s lawyers that asked the Court to raise the age at which a person can be sentenced to death. In 2005, the Supreme Court said in Roper v. Simmons that no one can be put to death for an act they did before they turned 18.
The petition said that the age should be raised to 21 because there is more and more scientific proof about how the brain grows and changes. When Mr. Tisius did the crime for which he was put to death, he was only 19 years old.
After learning new facts, jurors in several other cases have also said they regret the sentences they gave. In 2022, a juror from the trial of Oklahoma prisoner Richard Fairchild said in an affidavit that she would not have voted for death if she had known that Mr. Fairchild had serious brain damage.
If you are interested in learning more about this subject, I suggest checking out the following links:
- Drunken Shooting ‘Game’ Ends in Painful Death of French Woman
- Historic Church Consumed by Flames in Aftermath of Lightning Strike
In the Missouri case of Walter Barton, who will be killed in 2020, evidence of possible innocence changed the minds of former jurors. In the Alabama case of Toforest Johnson, the prosecutor now supports his claims of innocence.
Do you know what’s going on in California politics right now? You can keep up with what’s happening in California by following the California Examiner on Twitter.