MISSOURI (USA): EARL RINGO JR. EXECUTED
September 10, 2014: Earl Ringo Jr., 40, Black, was put to death today.
Ringo was sentenced in 1999 in the July 4, 1998 killings of Dennis Poyser and JoAnna Baysinger during a robbery at a restaurant. Ringo admitted to the robbery but claimed the shootings were in self-defense. Ringo wiggled his feet as the process began, breathed deeply a few times, then closed his eyes, all in a matter of seconds.
The Department of Corrections said Ringo was executed by lethal injection and pronounced dead at 12:31 a.m. Courts and Gov. Jay Nixon had refused to halt the execution over concerns raised by Ringoâs attorneys, who, among other things, questioned Missouriâs use of a pre-execution sedative, midazolam. Attorneys argued that the drug could dull Ringoâs senses and leave him unable to express any pain or suffering during the process. Ringo declined to take any sedative, including midazolam, the Corrections Department said. Midazolam has come under scrutiny after it was used in problematic executions earlier this year in Ohio, Oklahoma and Arizona. In each case, witnesses said the inmates gasped after their executions began and continued to labor for air before being pronounced dead.
A co-defendant, Quentin Jones, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison, but he was spared the death penalty when he agreed to testify against Ringo. St. Louis Public Radio reported last week that Missouri administered midazolam to all nine inmates put to death since November. Corrections department spokesman David Owen said midazolam âis used to relieve the offenderâs level of anxietyâ and is not part of the actual execution process.
Ringo becomes the 8th inmate to be put to death this year in Missouri, the 78th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1989, the 28th inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1387th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 18, 1977. (Sources: Associated Press, KMOV.com, 10/09/2014)