Russell Bucklew

02 October 2019 :

Russell Bucklew, 51, White, was executed on 1st October 2019 in Missouri. His case gained attention because of his lawyers’ and activists' concerns he could have suffered because of his rare disease. Bucklew was sentenced to death in 1997 for killing 27-year-old Michael Sanders on March 21, 1996. The man was living with Bucklew’s former girlfriend, Stephanie Pruitt. Russell also kidnapped, beat, and raped 21-year-old Stephanie Pruitt. He was pronounced dead at 6:23 p.m. CT (7:23 p.m. ET), KFVS said. Former Cape Girardeau County Prosecutor Morley Swingle, who tried Bucklew, said the death "was very peaceful." Kathy Sweeney, a KFVS reporter, who witnessed the execution, said there were no visible complications. Activists were concerned that Bucklew's disease would cause a gruesome death when he was administered drugs at his execution. He had a rare blood vessel disorder called cavernous hemangioma. The disease can cause tumors in the head and regular bleeding from the mouth, nose, eyes and ears. Advocates for calling off the execution were worried the lethal injection would cause prolonged suffocation and excruciating pain. "We mourn the unnecessary, unlawful execution of Russell Bucklew tonight," said Cassandra Stubbs, director of the Capital Punishment Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. "Missouri carried out an execution that risked torture and violated international law, despite Mr. Bucklew's remorse and exemplary prison record. The idea that killing this man -- who was terminally ill and had been a model prisoner for 23 years -- was worth the stain on our democracy and our humanity is a disgrace." On April 1, the Supreme Court ruled against Bucklew in a 5-4 decision, which means plans for the lethal injection can proceed. Justice Neil Gorsuch said the Eighth Amendment "does not demand the avoidance of all risk of pain" in carrying out executions. Russell Bucklew was the 1st inmate executed this year in Missouri, the 89th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1989, the 17th this year in the US, and the  1,507th person executed in the United States since 1977.


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