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MO Execution Planned Despite Bias Claim; Daughter Can't Attend

A federal court denied a 19-year-old’s request to witness her father’s execution on Tuesday, when Missouri is scheduled to put him to death for the 2005 murder of police sergeant William McEntee. Corionsa Ramey is barred from attending the execution of her father, Kevin Johnson, because Missouri law prohibits people under 21 from witnessing the proceeding. Ramey and the American Civil Liberties Union argued the law violated her constitutional rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, CNN reports. “I’m heartbroken that I won’t be able to be with my dad in his last moments,” Ramey said. “My dad is the most important person in my life. He has been there for me my whole life, even though he’s been incarcerated.”

Though he was charged with McEntee’s murder when his daughter was just two years old, Johnson has remained an involved parent, Ramey wrote in an affidavit to support her lawsuit, thanks to regular visits, phone calls and email. Last month, Ramey brought her newborn son to the prison to introduce her father to his grandson. While a federal judge acknowledged the potential for Ramey to suffer “emotional harm,” he rejected her arguments, finding the state had a “substantial interest in the sovereignty of its criminal law enforcement.” Attorneys for Johnson, 37, are seeking a stay of execution, claiming racial discrimination played a role in his prosecution, conviction and death sentence; the Missouri Supreme Court is set to hear that case Monday. lA special prosecutor appointed by the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney wrote that “purposeful racial discrimination infected” the process, not only in Johnson’s situation but in others in which the defendant was Black and the victim a police officer. Missouri Gov. Mike Parsons denied clemency, saying, “You got a guy who ... cold blooded killed a police officer by two shots in the head after he shot him multiple times,” the governor said. “It’s a pretty vicious crime. Sometimes you have to answer the consequences to that.”

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