‘Clemency will not be granted’: Parson confirms Kevin Johnson will be executed Tuesday
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Kevin Johnson was convicted of murdering a suburban St. Louis police sergeant in 2005. His execution sentence will be carried out Tuesday.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson confirmed Monday the State of Missouri will carry out his sentence and not grant clemency.
“Mr. Johnson has received every protection afforded by the Missouri and United States Constitutions, and Mr. Johnson’s conviction and sentence remain for his horrendous and callous crime,” Parson stated. “The violent murder of any citizen, let alone a Missouri law enforcement officer, should be met only with the fullest punishment state law allows. Through Mr. Johnson’s own heinous actions, he stole the life of Sergeant McEntee and left a family grieving, a wife widowed, and children fatherless. Clemency will not be granted.”
On July 5, 2005, police were looking for Johnson on an alleged probation violation when his 12-year-old brother suffered a seizure at their home. Several officers, including McEntee, responded to the medical emergency. Johnson’s brother later died at a hospital from a heart condition.
When McEntee, a 20-year veteran, returned to the neighborhood later that day to investigate a report about fireworks, Johnson shot him several times in front of witnesses, according to court records.
Then-St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch argued that Johnson believed officers had not done enough to help his brother earlier in the day and shot McEntee, the father of three, in revenge.
Johnson, who was 19 when he shot McEntee, was convicted of first-degree murder after his second trial in 2008. His first trial ended in a hung jury.
Johnson testified at both trials that he was in a trance-like state caused by his brother’s death when he shot McEntee.
Johnson’s attorneys appealed his conviction on several issues, including whether he lacked the deliberation necessary for a first-degree murder conviction.
The U.S. Supreme Court in March declined to hear the case, leading to the setting of the execution date.
Johnson’s attorney, Shawn Nolan, said in a statement that Johnson’s execution was the result of racial bias in McCulloch’s administration. She said Johnson, who is Black, is remorseful and has been a model prisoner who does not deserve the death penalty.
Because the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s office agrees that Johnson’s conviction and death sentence should be investigated, “the court should not have scheduled his execution,” Nolan said. “We plan to pursue all available avenues for judicial relief and executive clemency on Kevin’s behalf.”
Johnson’s execution would be the second this year in Missouri. Carman Deck, 56, of the St. Louis area, was put to death in May for the killings of James and Zelma Long in their home near De Soto in 1996.
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