Supreme Court issues temporary stay of Herbert Smulls’ execution

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

BONNE TERRE, MO(KTVI) - The United States Supreme Court issued a temporary stay of the execution of Herbert Smulls.

The court is expected to rule Wednesday on two petitions pending before it, and could then lift the stay for the execution to proceed -- possibly sometime after noon.

Smulls' lawyers claim the drugs meant to be used for the execution are expired and have been improperly stored.

Smulls was convicted of shooting a Chesterfield husband and wife, then stealing their jewelry.

He awaits his fate in the prison in Bonne Terre.

Previous Story

The man convicted in a 1991 murder is set for execution, just after midnight Tuesday.  His lawyers are seeking a stay of execution.

Herbert Smulls, 56 years old, is on death row for the murder of Chesterfield jeweler Stephen Honickman.  The victim died during a hold-up in July of 1991.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the U.S. Supreme Court denied his final appeal in April 2009.

Smulls’ lawyers are trying to stop the execution, claiming the state is using a "substandard" drug compound in its lethal injection.

This would be the third execution in Missouri since November 2013.


  • f

    The victim also had a substandard death. They could use a firing squad for all i care. When you cross the line and take another life you forfeit “standard treatement” I am sure his living conditions in jail were substandard but, he put himself there not anyone else.

  • Death

    Well aren’t we all surprised that the scum bucket lawyer for this murdering POS, wants a stay on the execution.
    Aw, the drug compound is ‘substandard’…. That is so sad.
    More coddling of the thugs is just what the liberals on the left want.

    Say goodbye Herbie!

  • Tom Hayes

    Mr. Honickman was denied the opportunity to help many people in his jewelry business. Many people lost the opportunity to enjoy Mr. Honickman’s artistry. It’s time for the low-life that killed him to go explain to his maker why he MURDERED someone! Goodbye!

  • f

    Stay tuned Obama will probably weigh in on this before long. This would be something that he would waste his time with.

  • Amy B. Jordan

    Hey folks, it costs 8 times as much to try a case seeking the death penalty.
    Then you have the lengthy & expensive appeals process. It ends up costing far more to execute someone than to simply imprison them in a 3 x 6 cell for life. Last November, Franklin cost taxpayers about $3 million. How about YOU pony up for that without flushing my money away, since I don’t see the point of such added expense when this guy’s no longer a threat.

    Since the Tea Party conservatives claim to be about fiscal responsibility as well as limited government power—such as executing its citizens—their silence on this is completely hypocritical.

    • Death

      The reason it costs more is because the attorneys act like money w.hores . And the liberals have to double check to see if they can turn a murderer into a upstanding citizen with kind words and fluffy pillows.
      They should all be executed 60 days after conviction.
      That way they can’t go to AMYS house and molest her children and shoot her dog.

      • William Todd

        You seem confused: Justice isn’t what you (or the victim’s family, though a surprising number of such people are opposed to the death penalty) may choose to define it to be, it’s what the law and the courts define it to be. Smulls has been rotting in jail for 20 years already, which is no trivial amount of ‘justice’ itself, and even if the death penalty were declared Unconstitutional tomorrow would spend the rest of his life there.

        Justice, in fact, is the reason that his execution was temporarily stayed today, because it decrees that he has rights too. You don’t like that? Tough: it’s the law until you can manage to get a Constitutional amendment passed to change it – but if you’re not interested in such efforts you’re of course also free to go somewhere else where the law is more to your liking.

  • William Todd

    My earlier comment would have benefited from explanation even if no one here at the time could understand it. The point is that this isn’t about Smulls, it’s about us: whether our own law-enforcement system will only follow existing law when it’s convenient and take a wild West approach otherwise because, well, there appears to be no one around to tell it not to.

    Executions in Missouri have standard procedures intended to ensure that the Constitutional ban against ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ is upheld. The execution of Dennis McGuire earlier this month amply demonstrated what can happen when these procedures are not followed. If there’s a chance that they may not be followed tonight then there’s no reason to rush: it’s been over 20 years already and another month or two to make sure it’s done properly won’t matter.

Comments are closed.