Kevin Johnson might not be facing imminent execution if he was white, attorneys speaking on his behalf told the Missouri Supreme Court on Monday.
Meanwhile, Gov. Mike Parson announced he will not grant clemency. Johnson, 37, is scheduled to die by injection at 6 p.m. Tuesday for killing Kirkwood, Missouri, Police Officer William McEntee in 2005. The state Supreme Court convened an emergency hearing Monday to consider special prosecutor E.E. Keenan’s motion to vacate the death sentence.
In October, St. Louis Circuit Judge Mary Elizabeth Ott appointed Keenan to investigate racial bias claims. His motion earlier this month stated that race played a “decisive factor” in the death sentence.Still, Ott declined to intervene, prompting the hearing before the Missouri Supreme Court.
“The evidence was clear that there was racial discrimination infecting this prosecution,” Keenan told the justices.
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