Missouri will execute its second prisoner in three weeks early Wednesday morning.
Update 4:30 p.m.: The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed Nicklasson's execution with just hours to spare, and the U.S. Supreme Court has until the end of Wednesday to overturn the order in time for the execution to proceed.
Allen Nicklasson shot and killed random victim Richard Drummond, who stopped to help Nicklasson and two friends when their car broke down on Interstate 70, during the so-called Good Samaritan killings of 1994.
Nicklasson, 41, is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday (Tuesday night.)
Nicklasson's execution comes just three weeks after the state killed Joseph Franklin, the racist serial killer who shot a man outside a synagogue. His execution was delayed for six hours by two judges who filed last-minute appeals eventually overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Franklin was the first -- and Nicklasson is the second -- inmate to die according to Missouri's new execution rule, which names pentobarbital, not the previously used three-drug cocktail, as the drug of choice. Missouri's new rules also prohibit the release of the name of the drug manufacturer, so no one -- including the Food and Drug Administration -- knows what lab the drug comes from, its potency or its contamination level.
Nicklasson's three-person killing spree started with a cross-state trip to buy drugs. On August 23, 1994, Nicklasson and two friends drove from Kansas City to St. Louis to buy meth. Their car broke down several times, even after they burglarized a home in Kingdom City for four guns, ammunition, a skinning knife, money, a pillowcase, change and a cracker box, according to court documents.
Drummond, a technical support supervisor for AT&T from Excelsior Springs, pulled over and offered to take the men to a telephone. They'd piled in the car with their drugs and stolen loot when Nicklasson aimed his .22 caliber handgun at Drummond's head and told him "you're going to take us where we want to go," according to court documents.
Drummond followed their directions to a secluded area, where Nicklasson walked him into the woods, ordered him on his knees to say his prayers and shot him twice in the head. Drummond's body was found eight days later.
Nicklasson and his buddy Dennis Skillicorn stole Drummond's car and killed two more people in Arizona. They were arrested hitchhiking in California, sentenced to life in prison in Arizona and then got the news from Missouri: a death penalty sentence for each. The third friend, Tim DeGraffenreid, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and avoided the death penalty.
Nicklasson has been on death row since 1996, and Skillicorn was executed in 2009.
Nicklasson tried to stop Skillicorn's execution, writing in a letter to Missouri that he'd had no idea Nicklasson would kill Drummond:
I was angry at myself long before I met Drummond. I was questioning why I couldn't have a nice car, home, wife, job, etc. I worked 24 hours sometimes and wanted to know why I worked so hard for nothing. I was very upset with Durmmond for being weak, and I was upset at myself for forgetting the rope (to tie him with), so I took all my pent-up anger out on him, a lifetime of anger. When I got back in the car, Dennis (Skillicorn) asked me if I tied him up. I said, 'No, I shot him.'
Nicklasson's lawyer is asking Governor Jay Nixon for clemency.
Continue reading to see the judgement in Nicklasson's 2007 appeal.
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