A Missouri man who killed a couple during a robbery at their rural home more than a quarter of a century ago was put to death Tuesday, becoming just the fifth person executed in the U.S. this year. Carman Deck, 56, died by injection at the state prison in Bonne Terre. His fate was sealed a day earlier when neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor Gov. Mike Parson stepped in to halt the execution. Deck’s death sentence had been overturned three times before for procedural issues, the Associated Press reports. Parson said the victims, James and Zelma Long, “were innocent victims of Carman Deck’s heinous violence. Tonight, justice was served.”
Just four other people have been executed in the U.S. in 2022 — Donald Anthony Grant and Gilbert Ray Postelle in Oklahoma, Matthew Reeves in Alabama and Carl Wayne Buntion last month in Texas. Eleven people were executed in the U.S. last year, the fewest since 1988. The number of executions in the U.S. has declined significantly since peaking at 98 in 1998. The drop has coincided with declining support, falling from a high of eighty percent in 1994 to fifty four percent in 2021 according to Gallup polls. Since the mid-1990s, opposition has risen from under twenty percent to around forty five percent. Use of the death penalty has become concentrated in a few Southern and Plains states. Last year, Texas executed three inmates, Oklahoma executed two, and one each were put to death in Alabama, Mississippi and Missouri. Three federal inmates were executed in January 2021, toward the end of President Trump’s administration.