The Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christopher Pierre, asked the governor of Missouri on Monday to spare the life of Ernest Johnson, a man sentenced with the death penalty for murdering three people in the 1990s.

“In the Holy Father’s name,” Archbishop Pierre wrote to Governor Michael Parson, “I sincerely request the you halt the planned execution of the Mr. Johnson and grant him some appropriate form of clemency.”

Archbishop Pierre wrote that the Holy Father’s request is not based on “the facts and circumstances of his crimes; who could not argue that grave crimes such as this deserve grave punishments?”

Johnson, who was trying to rob a convenience store for drug money, killed three employees: 46-year-old Mary Bratcher, 57-year-old Mable Scruggs, and 58-year-old Fred Jones, the Associated Press reported.