Clemons execution, scheduled for today, on hold

Clemons State prison inmate Reginald Clemons was to have been executed during the night. But questions about the people who would perform the execution have kept him alive. The federal appeals court in St. Louis issued a stay June 5th on today's execution of Clemons after Clemons' lawyers raised questions about the execution protocol.

Courts seemingly had resolved issues about the constitutionality of the three-drug system used to execute prisoners in Missouri and in other states. But Clemons' lawyers have found a new angle and Attorney General Chris Koster does not expect the appeals court to rule until mid to late summer.

He says the stay has nothing to do with the facts in the case. Instead, he says, the questions are about the qualifications of the people who perform lethal injections at the Bonne Terre prison.

Missouri has executed one inmate, Dennis Skillicorn, since the courts found the system constitutional. Skillicorn was executed May 20th. Koster says Skillicorn raised the issue in his last hours but he and his lawyers did not have an appeal on this issue before the federal appeals court.

Clemons is under a death sentence for his part in the rapes and murders of two St. Louis sisters on a Mississippi River Bridge in 1991. One accomplice has been executed. Another is awaiting an execution date. The fourth man involved is serving life. [ Priddy]

AUDIO: Interview with AG Chris Koster