Date set for hearing on halted Bucklew execution - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Date set for hearing on halted Bucklew execution

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

A hearing has been set regarding the halted execution of Russell Bucklew.

According to the 8th District Court of Appeals, the hearing will be held at 9 a.m. September 9 in St. Louis and will feature oral arguments regarding the execution that was halted by a U.S. Supreme Court justice last month.

Each side will be given 30 minutes for oral arguments.

The case that put Bucklew on death row included a murder, kidnapping, chase, escape from jail, and many more twists and turns.

"In my closing arguments I called him a homicidal Energizer bunny," said former Cape County Prosecutor Morley Swingle. "If he wanted to kill you and he said he was coming after you there was no stopping him."

Swingle called Bucklew one of the most evil individuals he's ever met. Heartland News made several requests to interview Bucklew about those claims and his conviction. Each time Bucklew declined.

It all began in March of 1996 with the murder of Michael Sanders in Cape County.

Swingle said Bucklew armed himself with two guns and two knives and went to the home. According to Swingle, Bucklew knew his estranged girlfriend Stephanie Ray Pruitt was staying with Sanders. Pruitt had said she feared him because Bucklew had abused her. When Bucklew arrived, according to Swingle, he shot Sanders in front of Sanders' kids and also Pruitt's children.

From there, Swingle says Bucklew pistol whipped Pruitt, raped her, and started driving toward St. Louis while he played the Bon Jovi song "Blaze of Glory."

Eventually troopers caught up with him as he entered St. Louis. There was a shootout and Bucklew took a bullet to the head.

Even after the injury, Bucklew managed to break out of the jail in Cape in a garbage bag. He went on to hide in a pantry and attack Pruitt's mother and her mother's boyfriend with a hammer.

Eventually he ended up in the hands of authorities again, and sentenced to 95 years in prison, as well as the death penalty.

"Later he gave a video taped confession and admitted the whole thing," said Swingle.

Stephanie Ray Pruitt testified against Bucklew in court. Later, then known as Stephanie Shuffitt, she became the victim of a murder-suicide in Perry County in 2009.

"It always made me sad because she wanted to be there at the execution because she wanted to be the last thing he saw before he died," said Swingle. "She was proud of the fact she'd testified against him."

Meanwhile, Cape Girardeau County Sheriff John Jordan will serve as a State's Witness at the execution. He was also the sheriff in 1996.

"In my opinion he should have died a long time ago," said Sheriff Jordan. "In my opinion the world will be a safer place when he is no longer with us."

Captain David James with the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department then and now also worked every aspect of the case.

"He had no regard for anyone's safety as well as his own," said Captain James. "We'll all be safer when he's gone."

Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved.
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • American ISIS wife endured horror, now wants to come home

    American ISIS wife endured horror, now wants to come home

    Thursday, April 19 2018 7:26 PM EDT2018-04-19 23:26:55 GMT
    Thursday, April 19 2018 9:02 PM EDT2018-04-20 01:02:08 GMT

    Sam Sally says she was coerced by her husband, who has since died, into crossing into ISIS territory while on vacation in Turkey four years ago.

    Sam Sally says she was coerced by her husband, who has since died, into crossing into ISIS territory while on vacation in Turkey four years ago.

  • AL mother pleads for drivers to put down distractions while driving

    AL mother pleads for drivers to put down distractions while driving

    Wednesday, April 18 2018 7:07 AM EDT2018-04-18 11:07:42 GMT
    April is distracted driving awareness month (Source: Michelle Lunsford)April is distracted driving awareness month (Source: Michelle Lunsford)
    April is distracted driving awareness month (Source: Michelle Lunsford)April is distracted driving awareness month (Source: Michelle Lunsford)

    April is distracted driving awareness month, and a mother from Alabaster hopes her daughter's story will convince you to keep both eyes on the road at all times. 

    April is distracted driving awareness month, and a mother from Alabaster hopes her daughter's story will convince you to keep both eyes on the road at all times. 

  • Trump will skip Barbara Bush funeral, sending first lady

    Trump will skip Barbara Bush funeral, sending first lady

    Thursday, April 19 2018 6:42 PM EDT2018-04-19 22:42:41 GMT
    Friday, April 20 2018 1:06 AM EDT2018-04-20 05:06:00 GMT
    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais). President Donald Trump walks down the stairs of Air Force One during his arrival at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Fla., Thursday, April 19, 2018.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais). President Donald Trump walks down the stairs of Air Force One during his arrival at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Fla., Thursday, April 19, 2018.
    President Donald Trump is not planning to attend the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush, choosing instead to send his wife, first lady Melania Trump. Trump frequently assailed members of the Bush family...
    President Donald Trump is not planning to attend the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush, choosing instead to send his wife, first lady Melania Trump. Trump frequently assailed members of the Bush family during his 2016 campaign.
Powered by Frankly