Sunday, February 2, 2014

Missouri executes man for 1991 murder

The 6th Execution of 2014
Herbert Smulls killed a jeweler during a 1991 robbery. He was executed in Missouri for the crime on January 29, 2014, marking the state's third lethal injection in as many months, reported the Kansas City Star.   
Smulls was executed by a lethal injection of pentobarbital at the state prison in Bonne Terre. He was convicted of killing Stephen Honickman and badly injuring his wife, Florence, during a robbery at their jewelry shop in suburban St. Louis on July 27, 1991.

Smulls did not have any final words. The process was brief, Smulls mouthed a few words to the two witnesses there for him, who were not identified, then breathed heavily twice and shut his eyes for good. He showed no outward signs of distress.
He was pronounced dead at 10:20 p.m., nine minutes after the process began.
Florence Honickman spoke to the media after the execution, flanked by her adult son and daughter. She questioned why it took 22 years of appeals before Smulls was put to death.
"Make no mistake, the long, winding and painful road leading up to this day has been a travesty of justice," she told the Star.
Smulls' attorney, Cheryl Pilate, had filed numerous appeals challenging the state's refusal to disclose where it obtained its execution drug, pentobarbital, saying that refusal made it impossible to know whether the drug could cause pain and suffering during the execution.
The U.S. Supreme Court had granted a stay late Tuesday, shortly before the scheduled 12:01 a.m. Wednesday execution, but the high court cleared numerous appeals on Wednesday night — even the one Pilate filed less than 30 minutes before Smulls was pronounced dead, though the final denial came about 30 minutes after his death.
Attorney General Chris Koster said in a statement after the execution: "My thoughts and prayers are with Florence Honickman and the family and friends of Stephen Honickman."
Prosecutors said the defense's arguments were simply a smoke screen aimed at sparing a murderer's life.
"It was a horrific crime," St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch told the Star. "With all the other arguments that the opponents of the death penalty are making, it's simply to try to divert the attention from what this guy did, and why he deserves to be executed."

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