Russell Bucklew Executed on October 1, 2019

Updated: Dec 28, 2020

On October 1st Missouri carried out the execution of Russell Bucklew despite concerns about the violation of his human rights and the 8th Amendment of the Constitution. Russell “Rusty” Bucklew was sentenced to death in 1997 for the death of Micheal Sanders. This was Bucklew’s third execution setting. His previous execution dates in 2018 and 2014 were stayed by the United States Supreme Court because of his rare health condition that could cause him great pain during the execution process. Russell faced a heightened risk of a botched execution due to a medical condition and Missouri’s shady source of drugs.

Rusty was declared dead at 6:23 pm on October 1st – 23 minutes after the start of the lethal injection procedure. According to the media witnesses, Bucklew did not appear to suffer or show signs of distress. It is unknown what pain Rusty experienced or if the lethal injection procedures violate the Eight Amendment and international law. For more information on what Bucklew experienced in his last days,and the cruelty around his execution, please check out this article in The Appeal.

On September 26th MADP and the ACLU organized a rally and petition drop in the capitol rotunda to ask Governor Parson to Stop the Execution of Bucklew. Speakers included Nimrod Chapel of the MO State Conference of the NAACP, Tyler McClay of the Missouri Catholic Conference and others. You can see more on the rally in Jefferson City by clicking here. MADP would like to thank the over 50,000 people who signed petitions urging Governor Parson to stop the execution of Russell Bucklew.

Missouri has not had an execution since January of 2017. Hundreds of people across the state came together to vigil on October 1st. State Director, Elyse Max, drove a van of people to the vigil at Bonne Terre where about 40 people gathered to protest the execution (see photo). Click here to read more about the vigils in Springfield, Jefferson City, and Columbia.

Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty will continue to fight to end this archaic and barbaric punishment because our justice system, and particularly our response to violence, fails to heal our communities. We need a response to crime that does not perpetuate the cycle of violence. The death penalty is rife with errors and inconsistencies, fails to deter crime, and has a steep cost in not only financial but human terms. Death is not justice, Rest in Power Russell “Rusty” Bucklew.

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