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COVID-19 virus becomes a death sentence inside Missouri prisons

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

Richard “Ricky” Davis, a man sentenced to death in Jackson County, died of COVID-19 the afternoon of December 1, 2020, after being on a ventilator for 16 days. He has become one of the dozens of persons in prison in Missouri to die due to the COVID-19 virus plaguing corrections facilities prisons since March 2020. More prisoners in the United States have died in the coronavirus pandemic than have been executed in the country in the past two decades.

According to the MO-DOC, 36 persons in prison and 4 MO-DOC staff have died due to COVID-19. At Potosi Correctional Center in Mineral Point, Missouri, 140 people currently incarcerated have tested positive for COVID-19. Dozens of organizations are working to address the deadly outbreaks occurring in Missouri prisons with little response from state corrections and health officials. A recent article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch highlights the MO-DOC’s irreverence for protecting its staff and those inside prison. MO-DOC’s lack of transparency and an unwillingness to resolve the COVID-19 crisis behind bars in Missouri is sure to kill countless others.

Richard Davis was convicted for the rape and murders of Marsha Spicer and Michelle Huff-Ricci and was sentenced to death in 2008 for the murder of Marsha Spicer. His co-defendant, Dena Riley, is currently serving eight consecutive life sentences. While incarcerated, Mr. Davis finally got treatment for his bipolar disorder. He felt great remorse for the crimes he committed and was a good friend to those who knew him inside. We call for the continued healing of all the victims and their families who have suffered through years of tragedy and trauma throughout the legal process.

MADP will continue to work with others to ensure the health and safety of those most at risk of COVID-19 in prison. We are committed to our mission of stopping state executions and the death penalty in Missouri. For more information about the death penalty in Missouri please spend time reading more within our website.

Of the now twenty men on death row in Missouri, COVID-19 should not be their death sentence.

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