Missouri man put to death for 2002 murders

8 months 1 week 2 days ago May 11, 2016 May 11, 2016 Wednesday, May 11 2016 Wednesday, May 11, 2016 7:48:00 PM CDT in News
By: Jacob Kornhauser, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

BONNE TERRE - Earl Forrest, 66, was pronounced dead at 7:18 p.m. after being put to death by lethal injection at Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday.

Forrest was sentenced to death for the 2002 murders of Michael Wells, Harriet Smith, and Deputy Sheriff Sharon JoAnn Barnes in Dent County. He was convicted of killing Wells and Smith in a drug dispute and Barnes in a shootout that followed at Forrest's home.

Forrest was the first person to be executed in Missouri in 2016 and could be the last one for some time. The pace of executions is expected to slow because most of the remaining death row inmates have pending appeals or have been declared unfit for execution.

Missouri's death row population has also been dwindling as juries sentence fewer people to death.

Since November 2013, the state has executed 18 men, second in the country, trailing only Texas.

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