Missouri inmate's execution set for 1994 triple slaying
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Supreme Court has scheduled a November execution for an inmate convicted of killing three workers at a Columbia convenience store more than two decades ago.
The state's high court issued the execution order Tuesday for 55-year-old Ernest Lee Johnson, scheduling his death by injection for November 3.
Johnson was convicted of bludgeoning 46-year-old Mary Bratcher, 5-year-old Mable Scruggs and 58-year-old Fred Jones with a hammer at a Casey's General Store where they worked in Boone County. The killings took place in February 1994.
Johnson has appealed three times. In 1999, Johnson's lawyers argued that he had a poor childhood and was mildly mentally disabled. Johnson's mental state was the center of his 2002 appeal after the U.S. Supreme Court said that states could not execute defendants who are mentally disabled. However, Missouri Supreme Court overturned that sentence in 2006 because of lack of testimony about Johnson's drug addiction.