Author Archives: smays

Jeffrey Ferguson executed

fergusonThe Missouri Department of Public Safety reports 59-year-old Jeffrey Ferguson has died by a lethal injection of pentobarbital at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre. The execution was carried out at 12:01 a.m. He was pronounced dead ten minutes later.

Ferguson and another man, Kenneth Ousley, abducted 17-year-old Kelli Hall from the St. Charles gas station she was working at on February 9, 1989. Her body was found three weeks later on a nearby farm. DNA evidence found on Hall’s coat was matched to Ferguson. Ferguson and Ousley were charged with first degree murder but Ousley pleaded guilty and received a life sentence

Source: The Missourinet

Rousan execution date set

The State Supreme Court is continuing with its one-execution-a-month schedule. The April execution will be for William Rousan, on the 23rd. Rousan’s attorneys claim jury instructions at his trial were confusing, an issue the state says the Court and federal courts have already dealt with. Rousan, his son, Brent, and Rousan’s brother, Robert, participated in the murder of a rural Bonne Terre couple, Charles and Grace Lewis, almost twenty years ago as part of a cattle theft and robbery.

Brent Rousan, who was 16 at the time of the killings, pleaded guilty to two murder charges and was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences without parole. Robert Rousan pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, promised to testify against his brother, and was sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

Source: Bob Priddy, The Missourinet

Michael Taylor executed

Michael Taylor never denied his part in the rape and murder of fifteen-year old Ann Harrison of Kansas City a quarter century ago. He went to his death at 12:10 a.m. today with no words of regret.

Taylor became the fourth Missouri inmate executed in a little more than three months. His accomplice also faces execution at an undetermined time.

Five grams of pentobarbital ended his life nine minutes after the lethal injection process began.

Members of the Harrison family had no comment after the execution. They will return to the Bonne Terre prison for the execution of accomplice Roderick Nunley.

A close friend of the Harrison family, retired Kansas City homicide Sergeant David Bernard, told the Missourinet after the execution he and his wife believe the execution provides no justice for Ann Harrison. “This is just retribution,” they said. Bernard was critical of lawyers and a court system that kept Taylor alive for 25 years, often with frivolous lawsuits that judges should have thrown out.

Ann Harrison might have celebrated her fortieth birthday last weekend if Taylor and Nunley had not snatched her while she was waiting for a bus just a few yards from her home that day in 1989.

AUDIO: Bernard interview 7:40
AUDIO: Post-execution news conference 8:23

Story by Bob Priddy, The Missourinet

Ghost of Herbert Smulls Haunts Missouri’s Death Penalty Plans

TheAtlantic.com: “It has been only 21 days since Missouri began to execute convicted murderer Herbert Smulls some 13 minutes before the justices of the United States Supreme Court denied his final request for  stay. And it is fair to say that the past three weeks in the state’s history of capital punishment have been marked by an unusual degree of chaos, especially for those Missouri officials who acted so hastily in the days leading up to Smulls’ death. A state that made the choice to take the offensive on the death penalty now finds itself on the defensive in virtually every way.”

Full story at TheAtlantic.com »

Smulls execution “a travesty”

One of those who watched the state execute prison inmate Herbert Smulls late last night (January 29) calls the execution “a travesty of justice.” The person making that charge is not one of Smulls’ supporters. It’s one of his victims.

Herbert Smulls died 253 months after getting his death sentence for killing Chesterfield jeweler Stephen Honickman during a 1991 robbery. Although Honickman’s wife, Florence, was shot twice, she survived by playing dead. She says waiting more than twenty years to execute a murderer while the state spends millions of dollars on the inmate is a travesty of justice for her and her family. She says the state has not paid for any of her expenses to attend the execution.

She says there should be no reason, in a “just and a rational legal system” why appeals should continue longer than ten years. She says she and her family are the ones who have suffered cruel and unusual punishment; by having to wait so long for justice to be done. She says the system needs to spend more time thinking of the victims and less about the murderers.

Audio: Post-execution news conference

Story by Bob Priddy, The Missourient. More stories »