Missouri executes man for killing three in 1994 robbery

Missouri executes man for killing three in 1994 robbery
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Daily US Times: A 61-year-old Missouri man has been executed for murdering three people in a 1994 robbery despite pleas for clemency by advocates who said he had an intellectual disability.

On Tuesday, Ernest Johnson has been injected a lethal injection after the US Supreme Court refused to consider a stay of execution earlier in the day.

His pleas for mercy had received support from Pope Francis and two members of Congress.

The 61-year-old killed three convenience store workers in a 1994 robbery.

His attorneys argued that Mr Johnson was ineligible for the death penalty because multiple IQ tests have shown he has the mental capacity of a child and still reads at a third-grade level.

Johnson was born with foetal alcohol syndrome because his mother drank heavily during her pregnancy.

Since 2008, the black man has also been missing a fifth of his brain tissue after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumour.

Attorneys for Mr Johnson pointed to a 2002 Supreme Court ruling that says using the death penalty against Americans with intellectual disabilities violates the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution, which prohibits “cruel and unusual punishments”.

However, the US state’s top court denied him a stay of execution last year and refused to take up his case again.

The Republican governor of Missouri had also refused to block the sentence from being carried out.

Racial justice activists, elected officials and faith leaders joined the efforts to spare Johnson’s life.

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