Russell Bucklew: Supreme Court Delays First Execution Since Botched Oklahoma Case

Categories: Crime

russellbucklew.png
Russell Bucklew.
The U.S. Supreme Court stayed the execution of a Missouri death-row inmate who has a birth defect that affects his blood vessels just hours before he was scheduled to die.

Justice Samuel Alito delayed the execution with just two hours to spare so the entire high court can weigh in on the appeal of Russell Bucklew, who would be the first person put to death after a botched execution in Oklahoma, where an inmate's vein collapsed during the administration of the lethal-injection chemicals.


UPDATE - The Supreme Court ruled that Bucklew's case should return to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis for reevaluation. He was not executed Wednesday, and it's not clear when or if his execution will be rescheduled. End of update.

If the Supreme Court rules that Missouri can execute Bucklew -- who murdered a romantic rival in front of his children, kidnapped and raped his ex-girlfriend and shot a state trooper -- the state will have until midnight Wednesday.

See also: How the Supreme Court Makes Last-Minute Decisions on Missouri Executions

The Supreme Court's delay comes after a long night of legal maneuvers meant to spare Bucklew from being executed according to Missouri's highly secretive process, which is so covert that even the Food and Drug Administration can't regulate the lethal drugs used in the execution.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals suspended the execution earlier Tuesday but was swiftly overturned by the full court, according to NBC News.

"Bucklew's unrebutted medical evidence demonstrates the requisite sufficient likelihood of unnecessary pain and suffering beyond the constitutionally permissible amount inherent in all executions," the justices wrote in their decision. "The irreparable harm to Bucklew is great in comparison to the harm to the state from staying the execution."

See also: 5 Reasons Missouri Should Use the Guillotine, Not Lethal Injection

Soon after the judge's decision was overturned, Alito -- who covers emergency court matters for Missouri -- filed his own stay of execution.

Bucklew tells the Associated Press that because his birth defect, cavernous hemangioma, causes weakened and malformed blood vessels as well as masses in the head and neck, death by lethal injection could be excruciatingly painful.

Governor Jay Nixon denied Bucklew clemency, releasing this statement Tuesday:

Russell Bucklew came to the home of Michael Sanders armed and with the intent to murder him. After storming into the home and fatally shooting Mr. Sanders, Bucklew fired a shot at Sanders' six-year-old son, but missed. Bucklew then continued on a rampage of violence, including the armed kidnapping and rape of his former girlfriend and a shootout with the Missouri State Highway Patrol that left a trooper wounded. The jury in this case properly found that these heinous crimes warranted the death penalty, and my denial of clemency upholds the jury's decision.

Daily RFT will update this story with the Supreme Court's decision.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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22 comments
Carol Johnson
Carol Johnson

oh come on!!!!!!! He deserves all the pain he gets.

Sarah Halbe
Sarah Halbe

This dude deserves excruciating pain after what he did.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

I had to laugh at Miss Toyer complaining that the FDA cannot regulate the lethal injection mix. Does she even know what the FDA is suppose to do?

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

Lawyers will argue against using rusty needles in the lethal injections. That is what lawyers do - make cases in opposition to any logic. What the MO Legislative body needs to do is allow alternative death sentences by the penal system. If the criminal objects to a lethal injection due to faulty veins, multiple bullet wounds from a firing squad will do the trick. Gas chambers or hangings will also work nicely.

Jay Rodenhofer Bearden
Jay Rodenhofer Bearden

If the "lethal injection" is so bad, use the good old electric chair method. Seriously, did he give a fat rats ass about how much pain his victims were in? Who cares one bit if he's in pain at time of death which is an extreme amount of years past the time it should have happened anyway. I don't freakin' get it!

Tony Merklin
Tony Merklin

A bullet to the Head should do the Trick...........seems very "Humane" after what this Asshole has Done........

Joe Maness
Joe Maness

Ok put him on a plane, take up to 1500' push him out.

Joe Thebeau
Joe Thebeau

He needs to die. If he suffers...too bad.

Michelle Accardi
Michelle Accardi

It was stopped, once again. This is not justice for those he made suffer.

Tracey Lenz
Tracey Lenz

Why is this an issue? Why would the courts even give him a stay, his ass should be dead already.

Megg Ray
Megg Ray

This whole thing makes me hate being a human. Too many people fighting to save jerkoffs like this, not giving 2 cents about their victims. I will throw you 10 bucks to buy some rope to hang him.

Daniel Stout
Daniel Stout

My prayers continue for an end to the death penalty. It just isn't humane or just. Thank God for this delay.

Joseph Poor
Joseph Poor

I'm a liberal, with that being said rope is cheap and reusable.

David B Fowler
David B Fowler

Public hanging. Or French razor... It is a crime deterent.

Bryan Hendrickson
Bryan Hendrickson

Do. Like they do to cattle in slaughter houses... That is humane.

Sean Neuber
Sean Neuber

I would think a "botched" execution would mean the inmate survived. If he dies, then it is "successful." Anyone seen common sense lately? If these monsters had only botched the murders they committed, they wouldn't be on death row. Don't expect a bleeding heart from the public eye on this issue!

Grant Henderson
Grant Henderson

I think we should use guillotines. Not much to botch there. Probably pretty quick and "humane".

James R Johnson
James R Johnson

What an out of touch with the issue answer, so no effort was put forward to address the question just a restating of the facts. I hate laziness. He should die but we don't torture people before killing them, that is where we as the State and Citizens take the high road.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

no such thing as a "botched" one as long as the criminal dies.

Jodi Fox
Jodi Fox

Then use a damn sledgehammer..... You did the crime now pay for it. My give-a-fuck is out of gas.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

Stop praying for end of the Death and do something. Stop worrying about those sentenced to death and are in the final stages of their death sentence, and begin changing the law that allows a death sentence. It is cruel and inhumane to dangle before those on death row any chance of their sentences being commuted. You are trying to give hope to those that have no hope. That is cruel and just plain mean. If you and a majority of the voters decide to end the death penalty, so be it. But to allow a person to fret on his last scheduled day that someone will stop the process before midnight? That is cruel. Meanness is the only reason someone would continual appeal and stay an execution the same day. Bring an end to their turmoil on Death Row by allowing the process to be final. Yes, pray for the end of those committing crimes worthy of the Death Penalty. Pray for the criminals to stop killing innocent victims. Pray for those who need your prayers. Then work to change the law of the land through the democratic process at the polling place. Until then, pray that those on Death Row swiftly receive their due justice.

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