CLAYTON, Mo. – The state of Missouri is set to execute a convicted killer just days into the new year, but some lawmakers are working to stop it.
Amber McLaughlin would be the first transgender woman to be executed in the United States.
McLaughlin raped and stabbed 45-year-old Beverly Guenther in 2003 in Earth City. McLaughlin dumped her body near the Mississippi River.
According to our partners at the St. Louis Post Dispatch, earlier this month, McLaughlin’s attorneys asked Governor Mike Parson to commute her sentence to life in prison without parole.
Seven retired Missouri judges also asked Parson to call off the execution, saying “the trial judge made his own findings contrary to the will of the jury.”
Death penalty opponents were set to drop off more than 5,000 signatures Tuesday, December 27 at Parson’s office opposing the execution. Also on Tuesday, democratic Missouri U.S. reps Cori Bush and Emanuel Cleaver shared that the jury that heard McLaughlin’s case were never presented with “crucial mental health evidence.”
They criticized St. Louis County Judge Steven Goldman’s decision in 2006 to impose the death penalty after the jury deadlocked on McLaughlin’s sentence.
Missouri executed two prisoners this year – Carman Deck, who killed James and Zelma long in Jefferson County in 1996, and Kevin Johnson, who killed Kirkwood Police Sergeant William McEntee in 2005.
Since Parson took office in June 2018, five executions have taken place after the governor declined to grant clemency.
Amber was Scott McLaughlin in 2003 at the time of the crime. McLaughlin transitioned while on death row. Her execution is scheduled for January 3.