Washington D.C., Oct 7, 2021 / 11:10 am
The four bishops of Missouri released a joint statement on Wednesday evening condemning the state’s execution of Ernest Lee Johnson, on whose behalf the Holy See pleaded for clemency.
Johnson, 61, was executed by lethal injection on Tuesday, after the Supreme Court denied his emergency appeal for a stay of execution. He was convicted of killing three convenience store employees with a claw hammer in 1994 while attempting to rob the store for drug money..
“As the Catholic bishops of Missouri, we express our disappointment with the decision to allow the execution of Ernest Lee Johnson to move forward yesterday,” said the statement, which was signed by Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski of St. Louis, Bishop James Johnson of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Bishop Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City, and Bishop Edward Rice of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.
The bishops said that while Johnson’s crimes were “heinous and deserve to be punished,” the “pro-life state” of Missouri should cease the use of capital punishment.