Supreme Court stays execution of man guilty of Columbia murders

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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (DC) - The United States Supreme Court granted a stay of execution Tuesday for Missouri man who committed three murders in Columbia in 1994. 

Ernest Lee Johnson, 55, who was scheduled to be executed is living with a brain tumor, brain defects and brain scars. These major health risks have led medical experts to believe a lethal injection execution could cause him to experience a "violent seizure." 

A petitioner deemed Missouri's method of execution when applied to a person with Johnson's particular medical condition would be a violation of the Eighth Amendment. 

The Court of Appeals will decide whether the petitioner's complaint was dismissed for failure to state a claim. 

The Missouri Department of Corrections told KOMU 8 News the execution would not happen Tuesday night. Johnson's death warrant was set to expire at 6 p.m. Wednesday; if the courts were to decide the execution would be constitutional and should proceed after that time, a new death warrant would be needed. 

 

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