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 »

Lawmakers revisit death penalty legislation

Two lawmakers who carried legislation dealing with the death penalty in 2013 are considering whether recent events would help or hinder such bills this year. Imperial representative Paul Wieland proposed in 2013 the repeal of the death penalty in Missouri. He thinks a report by St. Louis Public Radio that the Corrections Department is getting its execution drugs from an Oklahoma compounding pharmacy not licensed in Missouri raises questions about how the death penalty is administered.

More at Missourinet.com

State officials comment on Nicklasson execution

Governor Jay Nixon issued this statement following the execution by the State of Missouri of convicted murderer Allen Nicklasson for the 1994 murder of businessman Richard Drummond:
Missouri Department of Corrections Director George Lombardi reads a statement from Governor Nixon about the execution of Allen Nicklasson.

Missouri Department of Corrections Director George Lombardi reads a statement from Governor Nixon about the execution of Allen Nicklasson.

“Richard Drummond’s act of kindness in stopping to help the occupants of a broken down car on Interstate-70 was repaid with an act of brutal and callous violence. For taking the life of this Good Samaritan, both Allen Nicklasson and Dennis Skillicorn were sentenced to die by Missouri juries, decisions that were upheld by the courts. Tonight the second of these punishments was carried out with the execution of Allen Nicklasson.

“I ask that Missourians remember Richard Drummond at this time, and keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Attorney General Chris Koster, after announcing that the U.S. Supreme Court had vacated the stay of Nicklasson’s execution, issued this statement:

“The highest court in the nation has removed the last restriction to carrying out the lawfully imposed punishment of Allen Nicklasson,” Koster said. “While the sentence carried out this evening cannot lessen the loss for Mr. Drummond’s family, it nonetheless will give them the knowledge that justice has been done. My thoughts and prayers tonight are with the family and friends of Mr. Drummond.”

AUDIO: Q & A with Jessica Machetta, Mike Lear (2:25)

Source: The Missourinet

Nicklasson execution delayed

Convicted killer Allen Nicklasson, 41, awaits a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to see if he will live another day. The death warrant issued by the Missouri Supreme Court is in place until 11:59 p.m. tonight, Dec. 12, so Nicklasson could be put to death by lethal injection anytime until then. If that time comes and goes, the State Supreme Court would have to set a new date for his execution.

A convicted murderer is still alive at this hour as the state awaits action by the U.S. Supreme Court.
A federal appeals court issued a stay on the execution yesterday, which was appealed by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. The U.S. Supreme Court has indicated there are no judges on the bench as of this afternoon, but the high court has not issued a ruling on the matter either.

Public Safety spokesman Mike O’Connell says the prison in Bonne Terre is still at a heightened state of security but everyone is awaiting word from the Attorney General and the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Nicklasson was sentenced to death in 1996 for the 1994 murder of Richard Drummond, a businessman who had stopped to help Nicklasson and two other men whose vehicle broke down on Interstate 70. One of those men, Dennis Skillicorn, was executed in 2009 for Drummond’s murder. The third, Tim DeGraffenreid, is still in prison. Nicklasson and Skillicorn also killed a couple in Arizona who offered them help when their car became stuck in the desert there. They were sentenced to life in prison in Arizona.

Nicklasson had been scheduled to be executed on the morning of October 23 in what was to have been the state’s first use of the anesthetic propofol as an execution drug. His execution was delayed amid controversy about the use of that drug. He is set to die by a lethal dose of pentobarbital.

Source: The Missourinet

Death row inmate Preston dead

A state prison inmate under a death sentence for more than 31 years has died at the state prison in Potosi.  A court ruling eleven years ago determined that he would always be under a death sentence but never be executed.

Elroy Preston, his paraplegic brother Ervin, Preston’s girlfriend, and another couple, PeeWee Richardson and girlfriend Betty Klein,  had been drinking extensively one night in 1980 in St. Louis when they argued about whether Richardson could have some fried chicken.  Elroy Preston told Richardson and Klein he was going to kill them as soon as he took off his clothes so he wouldn’t get blood on them.  He stabbed Richardson five times and nearly beheaded Klein.

Testimony later showed he then took some of the chicken, dipped it in their blood, and ate it enthusiastically.
Preston was scheduled for execution on January 28, 1998.  But then-Corrections Director Dora Shriro notified Governor Carnahan that Preston no longer had the mental capacity to understand the nature and purpose of the punishment.  State law requires condemned inmates to have that capacity.

Carnahan issued a stay five days before the execution and ordered that it continue until it could be determined that Preston was again competent to be executed.  A circuit judge in Washington County ruled in 2002 that he was not mentally competent.

Preston never regained that capability.  He was 59 when he died this morning at the prison where he was to have been executed almost sixteen years ago.