Category Archives: News

Victim’s family: “It’s over. Thank God”

In his final statement, convicted rapist and killer Jeffrey Ferguson wrote that he prays “for the victim’s family to have peace in their hearts one day and lose the anger, hate and need for revenge that has driven them” and that they find “forgiveness, compassion and love in their hearts instead.”

Kelli Hall’s family speaks to the press.

Kelli Hall’s family speaks to the press.

However, Kelli Hall’s father, Jim Hall, told reporters after the execution that what Ferguson felt in dying wasn’t one iota compared to the fear and pain his daughter felt when her life was taken from her at age 17.

Jim Hall was joined by his former wife and Kelli’s mother, Susan King, two brothers, Stephen (and Melissa) Hall and Michael Venegoni, Jr., and a cousin, Chris Parmeter, in saying that today was a “special day for Kelli’s family.”

“It’s been a very long 25 years waiting for this execution, way too long,” Jim said. “My family and I have been devastated for years over this. His family was devastated by this. This basically tore two families apart. That should have never been. It’s been so long, it tested our ability to move forward.”

“They took her someplace, they undressed her and Kenneth Ousley raped her while Ferguson stood by and waited his turn,” Jim said, fighting to keep his composure. “Ferguson was more violent than Ousley, because he killed her while he was raping her.”

He says the Hall family was elated when an execution date had been set last month.
“We waited 25 years for that news,” Jim said. “It’s been 301 months since we buried Kelli. To the day.”

He says now, maybe, his family can move on.

“I’m not sure. We’ll find out starting tomorrow,” he said. “Kelli can rest now.” “It’s over, thank God,” said Kelli’s mother, Susan King.

Governor Jay Nixon issued a brief statement about the execution, saying that Jeffrey Ferguson was convicted of Kelli’s murder and sentenced to the ultimate punishment provided by Missouri law.

“That sentence has now been carried out,” Nixon said. “I ask that Missourians remember Kelli Hall at this time and join us in keeping her family in their thoughts and prayers.”

Ferguson’s brother, friend and two daughters also witnessed the execution. His daughters wept as the curtain was drawn and he lie on the gurney. As he had said he would, Ferguson made funny faces at them, and mouthed that he loved them.

He was then administered a lethal dose of pentobarbital, waggled his feet rapidly, took a few breaths, then closed his eyes. He was pronounced dead shortly after.

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 “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 »