AP

Condemned Missouri man asks Supreme Court to intervene

Nov 10, 2022, 12:39 PM | Updated: 12:59 pm

A Missouri man sentenced to death for killing a police officer in a fit of rage over his brother’s death is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the execution planned for later this month, in part because the man was a teenager at the time of the killing.

Kevin Johnson is scheduled to die by injection Nov. 29 at the state prison in Bonne Terre, Missouri. Johnson, now 37, killed Kirkwood, Missouri, Police Officer William McEntee in 2005. It would be just the 14th execution in the U.S., but the first of three planned in Missouri in upcoming months. The other two in Missouri are set for early 2023.

An appeal was filed to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, a day after the Missouri Supreme Court declined to grant a stay.

Johnson’s lawyer cites concerns about racial bias. The court petition states that if not for racial comments by two white jurors at his trial, Johnson, who is Black, could have been convicted of second-degree murder instead of first-degree, and been spared the death penalty.

The petition also cited Johnson’s age. He was 19 at the time of the killing.

“A late adolescent of 18 to 20 years has the intellectual maturity of an adult but the emotional maturity and response inhibition of a younger teenager,” the court filing states. “Those limitations are all the more important in Johnson’s case. Johnson has a history of psychiatric hospitalization, a suicide attempt at the age of 14, a major depressive disorder, and auditory hallucinations.”

The Supreme Court in 2005 banned the execution of offenders who were younger than 18 when they commited crimes. While that didn’t directly apply to Johnson’s case, local courts have increasingly moved away from sentencing teen offenders to death. Johnson’s petition states that nationally, death sentences for those ages 18-20 at the time of the crime were imposed just once in 2018, twice in 2019, and not at all in 2020 or 2021.

A spokesman for the Missouri Attorney General’s office didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

McEntee, a husband and father of three, was among the police officers sent to Johnson’s home on July 5, 2005, to serve a warrant for his arrest. Johnson was on probation for assaulting his girlfriend, and police believed he had violated probation.

Johnson saw officers arrive and awoke his 12-year-old brother, Joseph “Bam Bam” Long, who ran next door to their grandmother’s house. Once there, the boy — who suffered from a congenital heart defect — collapsed and began having a seizure.

Johnson testified at trial that McEntee kept his mother from entering the house to aid Bam Bam, who died a short time later at a hospital.

In an interview earlier this month with St. Louis Public Radio, Johnson recalled kicking his bedroom door off its hinges and then roaming the neighborhood angry at McEntee for holding back his mom as Bam Bam convulsed, screaming “He killed my brother!”

Later that evening, McEntee returned to the neighborhood to check on unrelated reports of fireworks being shot off. That’s when he encountered Johnson.

Johnson pulled a gun and shot the officer, killing him.

In the interview with St. Louis Public Radio, Johnson took responsibility for the killing.

“I think as humans, we tend to shift the blame,” Johnson said. “I don’t think (McEntee) did anything that was wrong that day that I can even blame him for.”

The Missouri Supreme Court also has set execution dates of Jan. 3 for Scott McLaughlin, and Feb. 7 for Leonard Taylor.

McLaughlin was convicted of killing 45-year-old Beverly Guenther in 2003. She was raped and stabbed to death outside of her workplace in St. Louis County.

Taylor fatally shot 28-year-old Angela Rowe and her three young children in the St. Louis area in 2004.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

1 day ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

2 days ago

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

5 days ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

7 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

14 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Condemned Missouri man asks Supreme Court to intervene