Missouri executes inmate after Holy See appealed for clemency

Missouri on Tuesday evening executed Ernest Johnson, 61, an inmate convicted of murdering three people in the 1990s, after the U.S. Supreme Court denied Johnson’s emergency appeal for a stay of execution. The Holy See had also advocated for a halt to the execution.

In an unsigned order on Tuesday evening, the Supreme Court denied Johnson’s appeal for a stay of execution, and the state shortly afterward executed Johnson by lethal injection.

The Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, on Monday had asked for “some appropriate form of clemency” for Johnson in the Holy Father’s name.

While noting that “grave crimes such as this deserve grave punishments,” Pierre said in a plea to Missouri Gov. Eric Parsons (R) that “His Holiness wishes to place before you the simple fact of Mr. Johnson’s humanity and the sacredness of all human life.”

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