By Jim Salter - The Associated Press
A man who shot and killed two rural Missouri jailers nearly 23 years ago during a failed attempt to help an inmate escape will be executed Tuesday night.
Michael Tisius, 42, is scheduled to die by injection at Bonne Terre State Prison for killing Leon Egley and Jason Acton at the small Randolph County Jail on June 22, 2000.
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Tisius' lawyers have urged the U.S. Supreme Court to block the execution, arguing in their appeals that a juror at the sentencing hearing was illiterate, in violation of Missouri law.
The Supreme Court has already dismissed another argument, that Tisius should be exempted because he was only 19 at the time of the murders. A 2005 Supreme Court ruling prohibits executions of those under the age of 18 at the time of the crime, but Tisius' lawyers argued that, even at age 19 when the murders were committed, Tisius' sentence should be commuted to life in prison without parole.
Tisius' defenders have also claimed that he was a very abandoned child and became homeless in his early teens. In 1999, when he was 18, he was jailed for a misdemeanor for pawning a rented stereo equipment.
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In June 2000, Tisius was incarcerated for the same misdemeanor in the same Huntsville County Jail along with inmate Roy Vance. Tisius was about to be released, and court records show the men discussed a plan in which Tisius, once he was out, would help Vance escape.