Missouri Governor Will Not Grant Kevin Johnson Clemency

Confronted at a banquet today, Governor Mike Parson said Johnson's crime was "vicious"

click to enlarge Missouri Governor Mike Parson - TIM BOMMEL/HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS
TIM BOMMEL/HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS
Missouri Governor Mike Parson
Missouri Governor Mike Parson has finally answered a longstanding question death-row inmate Kevin Johnson's supporters have asked in recent months. Will he grant Johnson, who's scheduled to die next week, clemency?

The answer: a resounding "no."

A group of protestors crashed a business banquet in Chesterfield this morning to plead with Parson to grant Johnson clemency. Johnson, 37, shot and killed a Kirkwood police officer in 2005. He's scheduled to be executed on Tuesday.

Johnson's supporters interrupted a speech Parson gave at an annual awards banquet for community developers hosted by Progress 64.

Video captured by Spectrum News journalist Gregg Palermo shows protestors shouting over Parson as he spoke at the DoubleTree Hotel in Chesterfield. The protestors were soon escorted out of the room.
Afterward, Parson told reporters everything is planned to go on as scheduled. He described Johnson's crime as "cold-blooded."

"It's a pretty vicious crime, you know, sometimes you're going to have to answer the consequences of that," Parson said.

Johnson murdered Sgt. William McEntee, a long-time officer in Kirkwood and father of three children. McEntee was shot multiple times after two separate encounters with Johnson. He shot McEntee in his face and upper torso, and delivered the fatal shot after McEntee tried to speed away from Johnson in his patrol car.

None of Johnson's supporters contend his crime doesn't deserve punishment. In lieu of death, Johnson, his family, and his lawyers ask for the price of his crime to be life in prison.
The Missouri Supreme Court set Johnson's execution date in August, but a hearing on Monday may delay his execution as the court considers a special prosecutor's claims that racism infected Johnson's conviction and judgement.

Since Johnson received his death sentence in 2007, a growing number of supporters have rallied behind him. They say Johnson's hard upbringing, his good standing in prison, and the circumstances surrounding his murder of McEntee merit mercy.

Nevertheless, Parson said "everything will go on forward as scheduled."

"We're going to proceed forward," Parson said. "[Johnson] destroyed some family and killed an officer."

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About The Author

Monica Obradovic

Monica Obradovic is a staff writer for the Riverfront Times.
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