Protestors speak up for sick death row inmate

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JEFFERSON CITY - Protesters took to the Capitol on Thursday to protest what they say is an inhumane execution.

Russell Bucklew is set to be executed on Oct. 1. A jury convicted Bucklew in 1997 in the murder of Michael Sanders. His former girlfriend, Stephanie Ray, took shelter with Sanders after their breakup. A jury also convicted Sanders with the rape and kidnapping of Ray.

Bucklew's defense team is arguing that due to his rare medical condition, cavernous hemangiona, he will die a gruesome death during his execution.

Danielle Spradley, a volunteer with the ACLU, said that due to Bucklew's condition, his execution will be graphic.

"The issue here that we have is that when he does receive the injection he could quite possibly bleed out," said Spradley. "Which is why we're asking for life without parole instead of the death penalty."

Spradley said her biggest issue with the situation concerns the state.

"I really would like to see Missouri lead on humans rights issues, so you know, we are supposedly a very pro right to life state, yet we're still using the death penalty," said Spradley.

Gov. Mike Parson's office said in a statement to KOMU 8 that the governor takes his job seriously when it comes to capital punishment.

"Each case of capital punishment will be thoroughly reviewed before any decision for pardon or clemency is made," the statement said.

Nimrod Chapel Jr., president of the Missouri State Conference of the NAACP, said that he takes issue with how Bucklew will die.

"But when you can't even make it work pragmatically, to say that we know that we're killing someone who is guilty, and that person is going to die in the way that we anticipate, suffocation in the case of Russell Bucklew, is not one of the ways that Missouri is sanctioned to kill people," said Chapel.

Chapel also said that this case is different than other execution cases.

"In this case it's a different thing. This is a humanitarian issue. And I think that this was what got the attention of the international community," said Chapel.

Protestors delivered nearly 70,000 letters to Parson's office after the protest was over.