A 19-year-old in St. Louis has expressed her dismay after a judge denied her wish to watch her father die by lethal injection. The decision aligns with a Missouri law that prohibits anyone under 21 from witnessing an execution.
Kevin Johnson is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday for the 2005 killing of Officer William McEntee in Kirkwood, Missouri. Johnson’s attorneys have current appeals awaiting as they attempt to stop the execution.
The American Civil Liberties Union had submitted an emergency motion with the court in Kansas City. This came after Johnson’s daughter, Khorry Ramey, stated that she wanted to attend the execution. The ACLU argued that the age requirement had no affect on safety and witnessing the execution is Ramey’s constitutional right.
However, on Friday, Judge Brian C. Wimes determined that Ramey’s constitutional rights wouldn’t be violated by law.
“It’s excruciating to know that I’m about to lose my dad all over again when the state of Missouri kills him. Yet, I can’t be present for his death simply because of my age,” Ramey noted in a statement.
“…my dad is the most important person in my life. He has been there for me my whole life even though he’s been incarcerated.”
The judge was aware that the law may cause emotional damage for Ramey. However, he determined that was just one part of the court’s findings, and the law was constitutional.
Ramey is hoping that Gov. Michael Parson will grant her dad clemency. Johnson’s attorneys have been attempting to stop his execution. They have admitted his guilt but believe that racism was involved in the decision to be put him to death. Johnson is Black, and McEntee was white.
Johnson’s lawyers also say that a mental illness and the fact that he was 19 at the time should have been factors in the decision. In 2005, the Supreme Court prohibited the execution of individuals younger than 18 at the time of the offense. Thus, more courts have moved away from giving teens the death penalty.
“The surviving victims of Johnson’s crimes have waited long enough for justice. Every day longer that they must wait is a day they are denied the chance to finally make peace with their loss,” a state petition read.