Monday, May 18, 2009

Mo. Execution Puts Death Penalty Debate at Forefront

The Grey Lady looks at the death penalty debate in Missouri as the state prepares to execute a prisoner for the first time since 2005.

At 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Dennis J. Skillicorn is to be executed for his role in the murder of a businessman in 1994. He was not believed to be the gunman.

The N.Y. Times notes: "In the final days of the state legislative session in Jefferson City last week, a death penalty moratorium was rejected, but the House, which Republicans control, passed a provision calling for a commission to study the question. House leaders say their chamber’s vote sent a signal to Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat in his first term, who has yet to issue a decision on Mr. Skillicorn’s request for clemency."

"He is not the one who actually killed the person, and that just says to me: ‘Whoa! Let’s take a step back,’ ” said State Representative Steven Tilley, the Republican leader.

Mr. Nixon declined interview requests. His aides said he was giving Mr. Skillicorn’s clemency request “a full and fair review.”
Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty are planning a vigil Tuesday night at 7 p.m. to pray for Skillicorn. The vigil will be held at Holy Trinity Catholic Church on 2818 East Bennett in Springfield.

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