The US state of Missouri plans to execute a death row inmate on Tuesday (28 November) in the absence of his 19-year-old daughter, who was not allowed to witness the scene due to her young age.
Kevin Johnson was however strictly the same age when he killed, in 2005, a white police officer in the suburbs of Saint-Louis, in the center of the United States.
Sentenced to capital punishment for this crime, this 37-year-old African-American must receive a lethal injection at 6 p.m. (2 a.m. in France) in the Bonne Terre penitentiary.
As the deadline approached, his defenders filed a series of legal challenges to try to save him, in particular due to suspicions of racism in the proceedings.
No success at this stage.
Likewise, his daughter Corionsa Ramey failed to convince the courts that a Missouri law setting 21 as the minimum age to witness an execution was arbitrary and unconstitutional.
I am heartbroken that I cannot be with my father in his last moments
,” she commented after the dismissal of her complaint on Friday by a federal judge.
He has been there for me my whole life, despite being imprisoned.
He is a good father, the only parent I have left
, ”added the young woman in a press release.
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According to court documents, Kevin Johnson shot and killed a white police officer on July 5, 2005, two hours after his 12-year-old brother died of a heart attack.
He was convinced that the police, present at the time of the death, were responsible.
After a first trial in which the jurors could not agree on the verdict, he was sentenced in 2007 to the death penalty.
But the prosecutor in charge of his case - replaced in 2019 - was accused of treating black and white defendants differently, which prompted his successor to open a unit intended to correct potential miscarriages of justice.
In this context, a special prosecutor was appointed in the fall to examine Kevin Johnson's file.
In mid-November, he asked the court to suspend the execution until he concluded his investigation.
His appeal, along with a comparable motion brought by Kevin Johnson's attorneys, was pending Monday before the Missouri Supreme Court.
If he does not succeed, Kevin Johnson will be the 17th prisoner executed since the beginning of the year in the United States.