Every time a killer goes on death row, an ACLU lawyer tries every possible trick in the book to save his life.
Here’s who Russell Bucklew was.
Bucklew’s girlfriend, Stephanie Ray, left him on Valentine’s Day in 1996. Over the next few weeks, according to court records, he harassed her, cut her with a knife and punched her in the face. Ray feared for her life and the lives of her children, so she moved into the Cape Girardeau County mobile home that her new boyfriend, Michael Sanders, shared with his children.
On March 21, after stealing his nephew’s car and taking two pistols, handcuffs and duct tape from his brother, Bucklew followed Ray to Sanders’ home. Sanders confronted Bucklew with a shotgun inside the home. Bucklew fired two shots, one piercing Sanders’ lung. He bled to death.
Bucklew then shot at Sanders’ 6-year-old son and missed. Court records say he struck Ray in the face with the pistol, handcuffed her and dragged her to his car. He later raped Ray before heading north on Interstate 55.
A trooper spotted Bucklew’s car and eventually became engaged in a gunfight near St. Louis. Both men were wounded. Bucklew later escaped from the Cape Girardeau County Jail. He attacked Ray’s mother and her boyfriend with a hammer before being recaptured.
Here’s the repulsive spectacle that took place before his execution.
The last time death penalty opponents gathered at Park Central Square for a vigil, they got good news.
For the second time, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the execution of Russell Bucklew out of concern that a rare medical condition could make a lethal injection procedure excruciatingly painful.
The claim that Russell would suffer was the basis for an extended lawfare assault on the death penalty and on his victims.
Bucklew was within hours of execution in 2014 and again in 2018 , only to get reprieves from the U.S. Supreme Court amid concerns about whether he might suffer.
Human rights groups and death penalty opponents, including all four Roman Catholic bishops in Missouri and the American Civil Liberties Union, have urged Parson to intervene. The ACLU and Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty presented the governor’s office on Thursday with petitions that they say had more than 57,000 signatures.
Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty specifically claimed that his execution would “most likely result in great pain and suffering.”
There was even a hashtag, #SPARERUSSELLBUCKLEW
The Kansas City Star’s editorial board also stepped up to fight for the rapist and murderer.
Is Gov. Mike Parson going to force Bucklew to die gruesome death in Tuesday execution? – Kansas City Star
But you don’t have to agree with our view to see why a grisly death at our collective hand is a dishonorable answer to 51-year-old Bucklew’s bloody behavior 23 years ago.
Bucklew has a rare medical condition called cavernous hemangioma, which causes malformed blood vessels. His lawyers argue that the many tumors in his head, nose and throat could burst and make him choke on his own blood as he’s being put to death.
“He is likely to suffocate on his own blood for multiple minutes experiencing excruciating pain,” said Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Director of the Capital Punishment Project.
If this doesn’t amount to the “cruel and unusual punishment” outlawed by the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, we’re not sure what would.
…reading the Kansas City Star
Anyone who follows death penalty cases won’t be surprised to learn that this was all nonsense.
Bucklew looked around and twitched his feet beneath the sheet as he lay on the gurney just before the lethal injection. He suddenly took a deep breath and all movement stopped.
There were no outward signs of distress.
Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty didn’t just defend Bucklew. They celebrated him after his death.
“Rest in Power Russell Bucklew. 37 people from across the state came to Bonne Terre to hold vigil and 19 guards watched over us. Deacon Dan was escorted off the property for taking a picture. No media was allowed at the vigil. Thank you to everyone who came to uplift Rusty.”
Rest in Power is a social justice hashtag that elevates a murderer and rapist to a civil rights hero.
Another reminder that lefties advocate for monsters not in the name of human rights, but human wrongs.