Missouri Man Executed For Killing Police Officer In 2005

A Missouri was hanged on Tuesday night for ambushing and killing a police officer in the St. Louis region whom he accused of being responsible for his younger brother’s death.

After receiving a pentobarbital injection in the state prison in Bonne Terre, Kevin Johnson, 37, passed away. It was the second execution in the state this year and the 17th across the country. In Missouri, there will be two additional executions in the first few weeks of 2023.

Johnson’s lawyers did not contest that he killed Officer William McEntee in 2005, but they argued that Johnson’s race played a role in the fact that he received the death penalty. However, the execution was not halted by the courts, including the US Supreme Court and Republican Governor Mike Parson.

Before the fatal dose of medication was given, Johnson declined to make a final comment.

Johnson was not in the execution chamber by himself, which was the first modern execution in Missouri. The Rev. Darryl Gray, his spiritual guide, was seated by his side.

Before the medicine was given, the men kept their talking to a minimum. Johnson closed his eyes while Gray recited a passage from the Bible. All movement ended in a matter of seconds. Leading St. Louis racial injustice campaigner Gray continued to pat Johnson’s shoulder while reading from the Bible or praying.

We prayed and read from the Bible, Gray said. “He apologized once more. He expressed regret to the victim’s relatives. He said sorry to his family. He declared that he was eager to see his little sibling. And he stated that he was prepared.

In Kirkwood, a suburb of St. Louis, McEntee, 43, had worked as a police officer for 20 years. He was one of the officers dispatched to Johnson’s residence on July 5, 2005, to serve an arrest warrant for the father of three and husband. Johnson was under probation after hitting his fiancée, and investigators thought he had broken that condition.

Joseph “Bam Bam” Long, 12, was awakened by Johnson when he saw the officers come and he immediately raced to the residence next door. When he arrived, the boy, who had a congenital cardiac abnormality, passed out and started experiencing a seizure.

Johnson stated during the trial that McEntee prevented his mother from helping his brother by preventing her from leaving the house, and the brother later passed away in the hospital.

The following evening, McEntee went back to the area to investigate unrelated allegations of fireworks being set off. According to a court document from the Missouri attorney general’s office, McEntee was interviewing three youngsters in his car when Johnson opened fire, striking the officer’s head, chest, and leg.

Johnson was also reported to have shot McEntee through the open passenger-side window. A teen was hit, but he or she lived. After that, Johnson entered the vehicle and removed McEntee’s gun.

In a court document, Johnson was quoted as saying that McEntee “let my brother die” and “needs to see what it feels like to die” as he went down the street and spoke to his mother. She had previously told him, “That’s not true,” but when Johnson went back to the gunshot scene, he saw McEntee still alive and kneeling next to the patrol car. McEntee was fatally shot by Johnson after being hit in the head and back.

Following the execution on Tuesday, McEntee’s wife, Mary McEntee, issued a statement in which she said that Johnson served as “judge, jury, and executioner” in the murder of her husband.

Bill was murdered on his hands and knees in front of complete strangers, the people he devoted his life to, according to Mary McEntee.

For further grounds, including his history of mental illness and his age (19) at the time of the crime, Johnson’s attorneys had requested the courts to become involved. Since the Supreme Court barred the execution of criminals who were under the age of 18 when they committed their crimes in 2005, courts have tended to avoid giving death sentences to juvenile offenders.

However, a wider range of appeals cited racial bias. The case will be reviewed by a special prosecutor, who was appointed in October by St. Louis Circuit Judge Mary Elizabeth Ott. A motion to overturn the death sentence was submitted earlier this month by the special prosecutor, E.E. Keenan, who claimed that race was a “decisive element” in the decision to execute the defendant.

The Missouri Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court both rejected appeals after Ott declined to stop the execution.

In a court document, Keenan stated that during the 28 years that Bob McCulloch served as a prosecutor for St. Louis County, his office dealt with five instances involving the murders of police officers. McCulloch requested the death penalty in four cases involving Black defendants but did not request it in the one case involving a White defendant, according to the file.

McCulloch saw the execution; his father was a police officer who died in the line of duty.

Justice has finally been done, according to McCulloch, despite the lengthy delay.

Khorry Ramey, Johnson’s 19-year-old daughter, attempted to watch the execution, but she was denied access due to a state rule that forbids anybody under 21 from doing so. Ramey’s case was not taken up by the courts. According to Karen Pojmann, a representative for the Missouri Department of Corrections, Ramey was able to speak with her father a few hours before the execution.

In 1999, 98 people were put to death in the United States, but that figure has drastically decreased since then. There are currently two in Missouri for the beginning of 2023. Executions of convicted killers Scott McLaughlin and Leonard Taylor are slated for January 3 and February 7, respectively.

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