Attorneys fear Missouri inmate faces ‘grotesque’ execution

Russell Bucklew

ST. LOUIS – Attorneys for a Missouri death row inmate with a rare medical condition say the tracheostomy tube he relies on to breathe increases the risk of a “grotesque execution process” if he is put to death next week.

Clemency from Gov. Mike Parson may be the last hope for convicted killer Russell Bucklew, who is scheduled to die Oct. 1.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in April that the execution could proceed. A spokeswoman for the Republican governor says Parson supports capital punishment but will examine the clemency request.

Bucklew suffers from cavernous hemangioma, causing blood-filled tumors in his head, neck and throat. Court reprieves in 2014 and 2018 spared him hours before he was set to be executed.

The tracheostomy tube became necessary in 2018 when Bucklew contracted meningitis.

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