KSNF/KODE — The State of Missouri has executed a man convicted of killing a police officer, despite attorneys arguing that the case was infused with racism.
Kevin Johnson, 37, died at 7:40 p.m. Tuesday night at the state prison in Bonne Terre, after an injection of pentobarbital.
As a first for modern executions in Missouri, Johnson was not alone in the execution chamber, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
According to the AP, Johnson spoke softly with his spiritual advisor, Reverend Darryl Gray, until the lethal drug was administered.
“He apologized again. He apologized to the victim’s family. He apologized to his family. He said he was looking forward to seeing his baby brother. And he said he was ready,” said Rev. Gray.
Kevin Johnson’s attorney, Shawn Nolan said his client had always accepted responsibility for killing Kirkwood police officer, William McEntee in 2005, but that his death sentence was, “the product of blatant racism.”
The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request for a stay on Tuesday evening, a day after Missouri’s Supreme Court did the same. Missouri Governor, Mike Parson declined to step in and stop the execution.
“Tonight, the state of Missouri killed Kevin Johnson, an amazing father to his daughter Khorry, and a completely rehabilitated man. Make no mistake about it, Missouri capitally prosecuted, sentenced to death, and killed Kevin because he is Black,” Nolan said in a statement.
During the final moment’s of Kevin Johnson’s life, Rev. Gray read from the Bible as Johnson shut his eyes for the last time.