Appeals court rules in favor of convicted killer Ernest Lee Johnson

1 year 3 months 1 week ago Tuesday, August 28 2018 Aug 28, 2018 Tuesday, August 28, 2018 10:39:54 AM CDT August 28, 2018 in News
By: Steve Lambson, News Content Manager

ST. LOUIS - An appeals court sided with convicted killer Ernest Lee Johnson on Monday, ruling his challenge to the state's execution laws should get further consideration.

Johnson is on death row for killing three people at a Casey's gas station in Columbia with a hammer in 1994. He was scheduled to be executed in November 2015, but challenged the state's execution method in October of that year, and got a stay from the United States Supreme Court. No new execution date has been set.

Monday's ruling by the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes after a series of amended challenges by Johnson and dismissals by a U.S. district court. Johnson claims the state's method of execution - lethal injection using pentobarbital - could trigger a seizure due to a brain condition. That, Johnson argued, would amount to cruel and unusual punishment, barred by the U.S. Constitution.

The district court dismissed his claim, saying he hadn't given a feasible alternative method of execution. At that point, Johnson asked for a stay of execution until he could appeal the district court's ruling, and the Supreme Court granted it.

When Johnson filed his challenge again, the court dismissed it a second time, saying he hadn't established the likelihood of pentobarbital triggering a seizure. Johnson re-filed, this time with an affidavit from a doctor, and a study proposing nitrogen-induced hypoxia as a humane alternative to lethal injection. That method, a kind of "lethal gas" execution, is lawful in Missouri, 

The district court dismissed the complaint again, ruling Johnson failed to adequately show "pentobarbital was sure or very likely to cause him to suffer severe pain, and that nitrogen-induced hypoxia was a feasible and readily implemented alternative method of execution that would significantly reduce that risk."

In its ruling, the appeals court said the state's arguments against Johnson's challenge aren't enough to dismiss his complaint, and sent the case back to the district court.

More News

Grid
List
FULTON - The 71st annual Christmas parade took over the streets of Fulton on Saturday afternoon. This year's theme... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 3:40:00 PM CST December 07, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Road signs honoring five Boone County veterans killed in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan were revealed Saturday. ... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 3:36:00 PM CST December 07, 2019 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY — One person was transported to the hospital Friday night after being ejected from their vehicle. The... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 3:17:00 PM CST December 07, 2019 in News
TIPTON — A shooting suspect is in the hospital after authorities shot him five times, according to a news release... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 8:50:00 AM CST December 07, 2019 in News
FULTON - Police are investigating after shots were fired at a Break Time in Fulton Friday night. According to... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 1:25:00 AM CST December 07, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - MU spokesman Christian Basi, confirmed the man who died after being hit by a car on College Ave... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 9:34:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Central Missouri Humane Society is waiving adoption fees this weekend, just in time for the holiday season.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 6:36:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
MISSOURI - Missouri’s minimum wage rate is set to go up again soon. The state minimum wage will increase... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 5:21:41 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson are inviting families to join them at the Governor's... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 3:50:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
BOONEVILLE - The Cooper County Sheriff's Office is asking travelers to find an alternate route on Highway 41 going to... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 3:02:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Former Columbia police chief Ken Burton has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after originally being charged with driving... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 2:45:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
HALLSVILLE - Kari Hallowell, the mother of 17-year-old Hayden Holt, who died in an overnight car crash after being chased... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 2:04:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP)- Two U.S. officials have identified the shooter at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola as a second... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 1:53:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - This weekend, 47 high school basketball teams from five states will go head-to-head in the 2019 Norm Stewart... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 1:24:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- Former MU Quarterback Drew Lock is set to make his second start with the Denver Broncos this Sunday versus... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 12:28:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in Sports
BOONE COUNTY- A 52-year-old male suffered two gunshot wounds Thursday night after getting into a fight with two people at... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 10:53:00 AM CST December 06, 2019 in News
RICH HILL- Relatives of a missing Missouri mother say they are growing increasingly concerned after deputies found the woman's phone,... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 10:22:00 AM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri State Highway Patrol confirmed Hayden Holt, a 17-year-old from Hallsville, died in an overnight car crash... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 6:41:00 AM CST December 06, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 36°
5am 37°
6am 37°
7am 40°
8am 41°