Lawmakers, pope ask Missouri governor to halt execution

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This undated photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections shows Ernest Johnson. Missouri death row inmate Ernest Johnson will be executed Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, unless the courts or Gov. Mike Parson steps in. Johnson killed three people during a 1994 robbery at a convenience store in Columbia. His execution would be just the seventh in the U.S. this year. (the Missouri Department of Corrections via AP)

MISSOURI — Pope Francis has joined the chorus of people calling on Missouri Gov. Mike Parson to grant clemency to a death row inmate who is set to be executed for killing three people during a 1994 convenience store robbery.

Ernest Johnson is scheduled to die by injection at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the state prison in Bonne Terre. The 61-year-old’s attorney, Jeremy Weis, has said executing Johnson would violate the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits executing intellectually disabled people.

If Johnson is put to death Tuesday, it would be the seventh execution in the U.S. this year but the first not involving either a federal inmate or an inmate in Texas.

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