Supreme Court Stays Execution of Missouri Inmate

The high court is expected to rule on petitions for Herbert Smulls on Wednesday

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The Supreme Court issued a temporary stay of execution for a Missouri death row inmate on Tuesday night, hours before he was to be put to death.

Justice Samuel Alito signed the order from the high court, which was sent about two and a half hours before Missouri death row inmate Herbert Smulls was scheduled to die just after midnight.

The court is expected to rule on Wednesday on two petitions, including a last minute plea that focused on the state’s refusal to disclose the pharmacy that mixed the controversial lethal-injection drug, pentobarbital. The state argues that the pharmacy is part of the execution team and its name cannot be released.

Smulls was sentenced to death for the 1991 killing of St. Louis county jeweler, Stephen Honickman. Smulls shot and killed Honickman and badly injured his wife, Florence during a robbery. St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch has called the execution drug controversy a “smoke screen,” arguing that several courts have already ruled agains Smulls and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon denied clemency.

If the Supreme Court rules against the petitions, the execution is expected to proceed on Wednesday.



I support the death penalty. I didn't until I saw Megan Kanka laying in her coffin. My family is friends with Megan Kanka's family. Megan Kanka was six years old when her neighbor, pedophile Jesse Timendequas raped, strangled and dumped her little body in a park close to her home.  She has been dead for twenty years. Her killer is alive and well. Why should this evil man be allowed to breathe, to see the sun shining while Megan lies in a cold dark grave?


@Pia It's not even a case of "Why should an evil man be allowed to breathe ..."

The man committed a crime that society has determined places that individuals actions so far outsode of society's rules that only one punishment is appropriate.

Punishment. Not a deterrence against others (that never worked nor was it supposed to.

Punishment. Not revenge against the perpetrator for committing a heinous act that usually leaves someone dead.

Punishment. Not the mob at the gates with the pitchforks and torches.


The law states that this is a suitable punishment for certain crimes, and whilst the system is prone to making errors about who committed some of those crimes, there are safety mechanisms in place to reduce the risk of an innocent person being executed.  Although we saw in Texas what happens when those mechanisms are compromised for political/theological grounds not so long ago.

WHat I don't get is the current argument over how painful the potential execution methods in the future may be.  At those times I say to people "He's going to die, as long as it's not by hanging, drawing, and quartering him, then he's really getting off lightly.

People convicted of crimes that warrant the death penalty for punishment never think of the pain and terror their victims feel - to use that about the new execution regimes is like asking for mercy when on trial for murdering your parents on the grounds you're an orphan.

Appeals should be against the evidence, the trial - not the method of execution.



Of course it's all about punishment for the taking of a life and for the fear and torture these evil people inflict upon their victims. They kill therefore they deserve death.

I asked why should an evil man who has killed be allowed to breathe because most people would agree that he shouldn't be allowed to live.

Your comment is excellent, thank you.



Timmendequas was given the death penalty. A few yrs ago the death penalty was abolished here in NJ so he is now serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole. It is outrageous that this evil man could someday be let out prison!  If he does there is no justice for Megan! Shame on those who made the decision to abolish the death penalty in NJ and other states.


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