ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Secretive transactions made with thousands of dollars going to out of state businesses. It`s part of the shadowy world of how Missouri executes prisoners.
According to the Missouri Department of Corrections, the practice has been happening in the shadows for decades. We`re starting to learn more, partly because of legislators like MO Representative Jeremy LaFaver.
LaFaver told us, “Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars have left this state in envelopes of cash for government purchases to U.S. stores that we don`t know who they are and drugs that we don`t know what they are.”
The head of the MO Department of Corrections says the dealings must remain in the shadows. Director George Lombardi testified in February to a Government Oversight and Accountability Committee. He testified, “What I`m saying is anybody that`s been involved in this process from way back when, would not be involved in it if they did not get cash money which would keep their anonymity complete.”
He said every execution starts with a secretive trip across state lines. An unknown corrections employee packs up about $8,000 in cash and drives it to an unknown pharmacy that mixes ingredients into a deadly concoction.
Rep. LaFaver said, “It`s no secret that I`m no fan of the death penalty, but nothing that I`m advocating for or talking about gets rid of the death penalty. What I`m talking about is good, transparent, honest government people deserve. And there`s no other situation where people would be ok with this.”
Media reports leaked a Tulsa, OK compounding pharmacy as a possible source of the execution drug. The Apothecary Shoppe was named in court documents, but the corrections department still danced. Director Lombardi said during his testimony, “That`s speculation and summarization and it`s not what we`re saying.”
The shell game continues as the Oklahoma pharmacy can`t be a source any longer, because it`s reportedly bankrupt.
LaFaver added, “The fact that we`re breaking numerous federal and state laws in order to carry out this one statute is really appalling to me.”
Lafaver also suspects tax evasion. He explained that Missouri D.O.C. representatives… “do not issue those 1099s. They don`t even have a procedure or policy that lines out that they recommend to people that they fill out their own 1099s.”
The Missouri Department of Corrections declined to talk to comment, however a Jefferson City Judge has now ordered Corrections to turn over documents about the execution drug and the supplier. Judge Jon Beetem also fined the state nearly $75,000 for violating the Sunshine Law and denying requests from media entities like our partners at the St. Louis Post dispatch.”
LaFaver said, “I’m hesitating to use the word criminal at this point, because that`s for a Judge and a jury to decide, but it`s certainly becoming very concerning.”
Though D.O.C. declined to talk on camera, the Director firmly said, during his legislative testimony, that he was disappointed this issue distracts from what he believes are good programs in his department. He said it’s real Catch 22, because not doing it secretively would mean the de facto abolishment of the death penalty.
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