US Supreme Court halts execution of Missouri man

The US Supreme Court on Tuesday halted the execution of a Missouri man who murdered three people in a convenience store robbery in 1994 to allow an appeal on whether he may suffer undue pain from the lethal injection drug due to a medical condition.

Ernest Johnson, 55, was scheduled to die by lethal injection at the state prison in Bonne Terre, Missouri. The US Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a separate motion to halt the execution.

Johnson was convicted of bludgeoning to death Mary Bratcher, Mabel Scrubbs and Fred Jones using a hammer, a screw driver and a gun, according to court records. Defense attorneys have argued in unsuccessful appeals that he has an intellectual disability and is not therefore eligible for execution.

A total of 25 people have been executed in the United States so far this year, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, including six in Missouri.
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