• Lauren S.

Call to Action: #SaveArkie

MAY 19th, 2020

Thank you for your calls, letters, and emails to Governor Parson to stop the execution of Walter Barton. Tens of thousands of Missourians have taken action, even while at home, to urge the Governor to stop this execution.

While we wait for the United State Supreme Court’s decision, and hopefully the sound mind and spirit of the Governor, Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty invites you to an Online Vigil or Celebration of Life for Walter “Arkie” Barton and all victims of the death penalty on May 19th, at 5PM CST. As we hold vigil on this day, we honor the lives of those lost to violence, and all victims of the death penalty.

To attend, please go to www.facebook.com/madpmo/ to view the live feed on May 19th, 5PM CST.

The information posted below was published on MAY 18th, 2020

Yesterday the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the stay for Walter “Arkie” Barton. His attorneys will appeal to the United States Supreme Court but the ultimate power to stop this execution lies in the hands of Governor Parson. Over the next 24 hours we are asking you to remain persistent in the call to action to Governor Parson and urge your family and friends to do the same.

Call Governor Parson now and ask that he stay the execution and grant a Board of Inquiry for Walter Barton: 573-751-3222

If the state moves forward with this miscarriage of justice, Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty along with Death Penalty Action, Journey of Hope, Red Letter Christians, the Missouri State Conference of the NAACP, Catholic Bishops and other religious and civic leaders from across the country invite you to join together online for moments of prayer and reflection for all victims of capital punishment, and to honor Walter “Arkie” Barton. This event will take place whether or not the execution of Walter Barton goes forward. You will be able to watch and hold vigil with us live on MADP’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/madpmo May 19th, from 5:00PM – 6:30PM Central Time.

We appreciate all of you in our shared struggle for peace as we work to abolish the death penalty and many other forms of injustice.

The information below was previously published on MAY 16, 2020

All Hands on Deck

While the Western District Court of Missouri has issued a 30 day stay, the Attorney General has already appealed and the 8th Circuit Court could lift it. We cannot wait. Urge Governor Parson to stay Walter Barton’s execution.

You can read the full court documents below.

Western District Court 30 Day Stay

Attorney General’s Appeal

Call Gov. Parson: 573-751-3222 If you get his voicemail, leave one. Leave several.

Email Gov. Parson: https://governor.mo.gov/contact-us

Tweet him! @GovParsonMO

Thank you for all you are doing in this fight to #SaveArkie.

For more ways to be involved:

-Visit our Website to learn more about the death penalty in Missouri.

-Follow us on Social Media for frequent updates and news: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

-Visit our secure online donation page to support MADP’s work.

Information below was posted during May 15th, 2020

BREAKING NEWS!

ORDER GRANTING STAY OF EXECUTION!

We just received news that the Western District Court of MO is granting a 30 day stay to Walter “Arkie” Barton.

Within the order the court has stated, “For these reasons the Court requires more time to consider the merits of the claims beyond the 15 days available in this case between the filing of the habeas petition on May 4th, 2020, and the scheduled execution on May 19th, 2020…if the district court cannot dismiss the petition on its merits before the scheduled execution, it is obligated to address the merits and must issue a stay to prevent the case from becoming moot.”

You can read the full Court Order here,

https://files.deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/Barton-Walter-EDMo-Stay-of-Execution-2020-05-15.pdf

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office has appealed the district court’s order staying Walter Barton’s execution. The case now moves to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

While we are relieved of this news, we must remember that the outcry for this likely innocent man made all the difference in keeping him from being executed by the state of Missouri. The state will likely continue to move forward with this execution in due time and we encourage you to continue our call to action to #SaveArkie.

Please continue contacting the Governor and sharing our petition.

Call Governor Parson: 573-751-3222

Email Governor Parson: https://governor.mo.gov/contact-us

www.change.org/save-arkie

We will be updating you with more information as we receive it and appreciate the tremendous amount of support given to us and to Arkie during this time.

Information below was posted during the morning of May 15th, 2020

The Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) continues to highlight the injustice in Walter Barton’s case as well as the conditions his legal teams have been under due COVID19. Please continue to use your voice to let Governor Parson know that you do not want the state to murder a likely innocent man in your name.

Call Governor Parson: 573-751-3222

From DPIC, “Blood spatter analysis, like many other types of forensic evidence, has come under scrutiny over the last decade. A landmark 2009 report by the National Academy of Sciences found that blood spatter analysis is often “more subjective than scientific.” “The uncertainties associated with bloodstain-pattern analysis are enormous,” the report stated. In a 2007 dissent from a 4-3 decision upholding Barton’s conviction, Missouri Supreme Court Judge Michael Wolff called the bloodstain evidence against Barton “highly suspect at best.””

You can read their full report HERE .

The information posted below was published on MAY 14, 2020 —

Yesterday, leaders with Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, The Missouri State Conference of the NAACP, and the Missouri Catholic Conference delivered petitions to Governor Parson’s office in Jefferson City, Missouri.

We tried to stay as socially distanced as possible and take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves while at the state capital. Several articles have come out in the last few days but we’d like to highlight the work of Liliana Segura and Jordan Smith of the Intercept.

It is incredibly important that we uplift the voices of the incarcerated at this time and so we thank the efforts of Liliana and Jordan for including comments from Mark Gill. Please take a moment today to read their article, which shows the injustices in Walter Barton’s case, and capital sentencing overall. You can read their article here.

Thank you to everyone who continues to share and sign this petition. We are encouraging you all to continue to do so, as well as continue to make phone calls to Governor Parson to stop this wrongful execution of a likely innocent man.

Sign and Share our Petition.

Call Governor Parson: 573-751-3222

Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and the Death Penalty Action will be hosting an online virtual vigil May 19th, starting at 5pm CTL to honor Walter Barton. If a stay is granted, we will continue with the vigil to honor all victims of the death penalty as well as have discussions about capital punishment and Action Steps we can take for Arkie.

The information below was previously published on May 8, 2020.

Carrying on with an execution during the Covid-19 Pandemic would place all involved at risk.

As Governor Parson plans to move forward with the execution of Walter “Arkie” Barton on May 19th, Karen Pojmann, a spokeswoman for the MO-DOC, told the Associated Press that the agency has a “robust viral containment plan and strict safety protocols in place at every facility, and everyone is screened, with a temperature check, before entering a prison”, but fails to specifically mention individual participants necessary in the execution process such as witnesses, spiritual advisors, correctional officers, executioners, and prisoners.

Pojmann also stated, “We plan to limit the number of witnesses in each room and space them out within each room. We have ample access to hand sanitizer, fabric face masks and other supplies, as needed”, calling into question just how “robust” their viral containment plan and safety protocols are.

The health and safety of those participating in this could also decrease due to a refusal by one or all participants in using the medically necessary equipment known to stop the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, Walter Barton’s constitutional right to have the permitted number of witnesses, and spiritual advisors during the execution would be compromised based on the Missouri Revisor of Statutes section 546.740

According to the MO-DOC’s website, since March 23, 2020 there are a total of 43 prisoners to have COVID-19 in Missouri prisons, one of which died in early April, 2020. Among staff members there are a total of 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19. All of these confirmed cases are said to have come from five correctional facilities across the state. The MO-DOC has also stated that 476 prisoners have been tested, yet there is no number listed for staff members who have been tested for COVID-19.

The number of reported and confirmed COVID-19 cases by the MO-DOC inside Missouri prisons is questionable given the low number of tests they have completed and reported.

In comparison, the Ohio Department of Corrections has listed updates every day of COVID-19 confirmed cases as well as it’s number of tests conducted inside it’s facilities for both staff and prisoners alike. Providing transparency to families of the incarcerated, as well as legal teams who have not been able to access their clients face to face for months.

Statements made by both spokespersons for the Governor, as well as the MO-DOC, calling for the continuance of Walter Barton’s execution showcases a lack of responsibility and concern for the wellbeing, health, and safety of all inside MO-DOC facilities, and those set to participate in an execution during a global health pandemic.

We urge you all to continue to take action to #SaveArkie.

Share the Petition:

www.change.org/save-arkie

Call on Governor Parson to grant clemency for Walter “Arkie” Barton and halt the execution before those who participate in the execution are at risk for being exposed to COVID-19:

Phone: 573-751-3222

Email: https://governor.mo.gov/contact-us

The information below was previously posted on May 4th, 2020.

New Evidence Would Stop the Execution of Walter Barton

Last week, the Missouri Supreme Court denied a request to hear an innocence claim for a man facing execution on May 19th. Walter Barton has been on Missouri’s Death Row since 1991 for the murder of 81-year old Gladys Kuehler. According to Walter’s attorney, Fred Duchardt, “Missouri is about to execute an innocent man” and he has new evidence to prove it.

Walter’s case illustrates many of the obstacles in place with trying to prove someone’s innocence after a conviction. Through it all, Mr. Barton has consistently maintained his innocence.

During the trial, the prosecution brought forward a blood splatter expert that concluded that the blood on Walter’s shirt was enough to convict him for murder. However, the defense never brought forward a blood splatter expert to showcase that it could not have been Walter Barton as Ms. Kuehler was stabbed over 50 times creating a significant amount of blood loss and splatter evidence at the scene. The defense attorney now has new evidence by a blood spatter expert who determined that it was not possible for the stain on Walter’s shirt to be high velocity spatter, and that is was a transfer stain that did not occur during the murder.

This is new evidence that could change the outcome of the case. Recently, past jurors were presented with the new blood spatter evidence. At least two have signed an affidavit stating that they found the new blood spatter evidence compelling and, if known at the time, this information would have affected their deliberations. Furthermore, the jury foreman has signed an affidavit indicating that, had this information been presented, he would have been uncomfortable voting for death.

Without question, reasonable doubt remains as to Mr. Barton’s guilt, and more evidence linking him to the murder should be presented before the state enacts the ultimate punishment.

You can read the full 2006 case report here: https://www.courts.mo.gov/sup/index.nsf/9f4cd5a463e4c22386256ac4004a490f/52b910ed4c12ff1286257c450074cd93/$FILE/SC93371_Barton_brief.pdf

We urge you all to continue our Call of Action by calling and writing Governor Parson to use his executive power to issue a reprieve for Walter Barton while his attorneys petition the federal courts to allow for the new evidence. Walter Barton should not be executed without a thorough examination of all the evidence in his case.

CALL TO ACTION:

If you have not signed the petition you can do so here: www.change.org/save-arkie

Call and email Governor Parson to ask for a reprieve for Walter Barton while his attorneys petition the federal courts.

Phone: 573-751-3222

Information below was previously published April 28, 2020

We have just been notified that Missouri plans to move forward with the execution of Walter Barton on May 19, 2020. Yesterday, the Missouri Supreme Court denied a request for a hearing on an innocence and competency claim and, at the same time, overruled a motion for a stay of execution. This makes Missouri the only state in the nation moving forward with an execution during the COVID19 pandemic, a declared state of emergency.

Today we are asking for your help. The decision whether to execute Barton now lies solely in the hands of Governor Parson. A Governor who has signed only one (partial) clemency petition since taking office. A Governor who has publicly stated he does not plan to release any vulnerable prisoners during the pandemic. With an unknown amount of prisoners and staff being tested for COVID19, as well as risks related to transferring individuals between facilities, executing Barton at this time would be a display of the extreme faults in the priorities of the criminal justice system in Missouri.

Call to Action:

If you have not signed the petition you can do so here: www.change.org/save-arkie

In addition we need people to call and email Governor Parson to ask for clemency for Walter Barton.

Phone: 573-751-3222

Sample Script:

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent in [LOCATION]. I am asking that Governor Parson grant clemency to Walter Barton. Executing Barton at a time of national emergency would highlight the faults in the priorities of the criminal justice system in Missouri. Barton is not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Please utilize your role to showcase that death is not justice for Walter Barton.

Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty will continue their work to stop the execution of Walter Barton and end the archaic practice of capital punishment in Missouri.

For continued updates about this case, please follow us on our various social media platforms.

Information below was previously published on February 20th, 2020:

On Tuesday, February 19, 2020 the State of Missouri issued an execution warrant for Walter “Arkie” Barton. His execution is set for May 19th, 2020. We are asking you to sign this petition to spare his life and ask Governor Parson to grant clemency.

Barton was convicted and sentenced to death for killing an 81-year-old mobile home park operator, Gladys Kuehler, in the town of Ozark in 1991. Over the 25 year history of the case, Barton has been granted several changes of venue. There have been two mistrials, a trial and conviction, followed by a reversal and remand by the Missouri Supreme Court. The second trial ended in conviction which was upheld by the Supreme Court but later thrown out by a lower court. Barton’s fifth and latest trial was held in Cass County, where the jury also found him guilty and recommended the death penalty. During his final appeal in 2006, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled 4 to 3 to uphold his death sentence. In a dissent, Justice Wolff wrote, “Even if the evidence were strong enough to support a conviction, it may not have been enough to warrant the death penalty.” His attorney is basing the clemency appeal for Walter Barton on two grounds; an innocence claim, and lack of competence to be executed.

Walter Barton’s Innocence Claim

According to Walter’s Attorney, Fred Duchardt, Barton was well liked by Ms. Kuehler and her family. Walter was at the scene of the crime when police and family got there to identify the body. During this process Walter ended up with a small blood splatter on the front of his shirt. During the trial, the prosecution brought forward a blood splatter expert that concluded that the blood on Walter’s shirt was enough to convict him for murder. However, the defense never brought forward a blood splatter expert to showcase that it could not have been Walter Barton as Ms. Kuehler was stabbed over 50 times creating a significant amount of blood loss and splatter evidence at the scene.

In addition to the blood spatter evidence, three of the four witnesses that were brought forward to issue statements against Walter have recanted their statements. One of the witnesses who did not recant was incarcerated at the time and entered into a quid pro quo to have charges dismissed in return for their testimony against Walter.

Lack of Competency Claim

Walter Barton has been under psychiatric care since 2015. His attorney argues that he has never been competent due to a brain injury and his case meets the standards for not competent to execute. Walter is currently in solitary confinement and is confined to a wheelchair.

In conclusion, the death penalty is rife with errors and inconsistencies and has a steep cost financially and to human life. State governments are not perfect and due to this innocent people are convicted and some even executed by the State. In a statement from Arkie’s attorney, he says “the state of Missouri is about to prove why the death penalty should not be used because they are about to execute an innocent man.” Many Missourians do not support the death penalty, especially under the circumstances of innocence.

Today we are asking you to stand up for justice, sign the petition, and ask Governor Parson to grant clemency to Walter Barton.

TO SIGN THE PETITION PLEASE VISIT THE LINK BELOW:

https://www.change.org/save-arkie

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