BONNE TERRE, Mo. – An attorney for death row inmate Amber McLaughlin shared that his client has one last legal appeal that could spare her life: clemency from Missouri Governor Mike Parson.
McLaughlin is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Tuesday, January 3, at Missouri’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Correction Center in Bonne Terre.
McLaughlin was convicted of rape and murder in 2005. The victim, Beverly Guenther, was in a tumultuous relationship with Scott McLaughlin, who now identifies as a woman and goes by Amber.
Police claim McLaughlin stalked Guenter, abducted her as she left her job, and stabbed her to death.
Laurence Komp, one of McLaughlin’s attorneys, said the clemency request cites the fact St. Louis County jurors failed to reach a unanimous consensus on whether a death sentence was warranted for the 2003 murder. The judge presiding over the case ultimately made the death sentence determination.
“There’s only one other state that allows an execution to proceed without a jury verdict,” Komp explained. “I think we should require jury verdicts to have a valid death sentence.”
The clemency request also cites abuse McLaughlin faced as a child and a foster system that failed to respond.
“This is a compelling case for clemency, and it should be exercised,” Komp said.
If Tuesday’s execution is carried out, McLaughlin would be the first transgender inmate to be executed in the United States.