Death Penalty

Inmate who wants execution videotaped wins stay from Alito


A death-row inmate who is seeking to videotape his execution won a temporary stay from Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. on Tuesday evening.

Alito issued the stay for Missouri inmate Russell Bucklew about an hour before the scheduled execution, the Washington Post reports. Bucklew claims (PDF) he has untreatable vascular tumors and malformed blood vessels that are likely to result in hemorrhaging and choking in an execution by lethal injection. Executing Bucklew by lethal injection, his lawyer say, amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. The Associated Press and Missourinet also have stories.

Alito acted after the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit of Appeals, acting en banc, lifted a stay that had been issued by a three-judge panel of the appeals court.

Attorney General Chris Koster says the Supreme Court is likely to consider Bucklew’s stay requests on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Nixon denied Bucklew’s request for clemency and issued this statement: “Russell Bucklew came to the home of Michael Sanders armed and with the intent to murder him. After storming into the home and fatally shooting Mr. Sanders, Bucklew fired a shot at Sanders’ 6-year-old son, but missed. Bucklew then continued on a rampage of violence, including the armed kidnapping and rape of his former girlfriend and a shootout with the Missouri State Highway Patrol that left a trooper wounded. The jury in this case properly found that these heinous crimes warranted the death penalty, and my denial of clemency upholds the jury’s decision.”

Bucklew’s lawyers filed a motion last week asking to videotape the execution for future litigation.

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