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Missouri sets execution date for Russell Bucklew

Missouri sets execution date for Russell Bucklew

April 9th, 2014 in News

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The Missouri Supreme Court on Wednesday set a May execution date for convicted killer Russell Bucklew, continuing a trend of scheduling one execution per month.

Bucklew is set to die by injection at 12:01 a.m. May 21 for killing a man in Cape Girardeau County in 1996.

"We are litigating this in the courts and we are pursuing executive clemency," Bucklew's attorney, John William Simon of St. Louis, said.

Missouri has executed five men since November - one each month through March. A sixth, William Rousan, is scheduled to be put to death April 23 for killing a St. Francois County couple in 1993.

Missouri executed two men between 2005 and November. Executions slowed because the U.S. Supreme Court was considering whether lethal injection was constitutional. A 2008 ruling cleared the way for lethal injection, but major drugmakers about that time stopped selling drugs for use in executions, citing ethical concerns.

Late last year, Missouri switched to a single-drug method, using pentobarbital made by an unidentified compounding agency. All five men put to death at the state prison in Bonne Terre, over the past six months - Joseph Paul Franklin in November, Allen Nicklasson in December, Herbert Smulls in January, Michael Taylor in February and Jeffrey Ferguson in March - were executed with pentobarbital.

Bucklew, 45, was convicted in the fatal shooting of Michael Sanders. Sanders was killed on March 21, 1996, about a month after Bucklew and his girlfriend broke up. Bucklew had determined that Sanders was a romantic rival. Authorities said he went to Sanders' mobile home and shot him while his ex-girlfriend and Sanders' 6-year-old son were also inside the home.

Bucklew abducted his ex-girlfriend and raped her before driving north on Interstate 55. A trooper spotted the car and apprehended Bucklew after a gunfight. Both the trooper and Bucklew were wounded.

Buckley briefly escaped from the Cape Girardeau County jail before he went to trial in 1997 but was quickly recaptured.