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The Execution Of Missouri Man Convicted For Murder The 5th In US This Year

The Execution Of Missouri Man Convicted For Murder The 5th In US This Year

The Execution Of Missouri Man Convicted For Murder The 5th In US This Year

A Missouri man was sentenced to death on Tuesday for killing a couple during a robbery at their rural home more than a quarter-century ago, becoming only the fifth person executed in the United States this year.

Carman Deck, 56, died of an injection at the Bonne Terre State Prison. At 6:10 p.m., he was pronounced dead. His destiny had already been sealed a day before when neither the United States Supreme Court nor Republican Governor Mike Parson intervened to stop the execution. Deck’s death sentence had already been reversed three times due to procedural errors.

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Deck mumbled a few inaudible phrases as the 5 grams of pentobarbital were delivered, then exhaled a few breaths before all movement came to a halt, a process that took only a few seconds.

The Execution Of Missouri Man Convicted For Murder The 5th In US This Year

“My hope is that one day the world will find peace and that we all will learn to be kind and loving to one another,” Deck said in a written final statement. “We all are a part of this journey through life, connected in every way. Please give love, show love, BE LOVE!”

Parson, in a statement, said the couple killed, James and Zelma Long, “were innocent victims of Carman Deck’s heinous violence. Tonight, justice was served.”

Only four other persons in the United States have been executed in 2022: Donald Anthony Grant and Gilbert Ray Postelle in Oklahoma, Matthew Reeves in Alabama, and Carl Wayne Buntio n in Texas last month. Last year, the United States executed eleven people, the fewest since 1988.

Court records show that Deck, of the St. Louis area, was a friend of the grandson of the Longs, who lived in De Soto, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) southwest of St. Louis. He knew the couple, in their late 60s, kept a safe in their home.

The Execution Of Missouri Man Convicted For Murder The 5th In US This Year

In July 1996, Deck and his sister stopped at the home under the guise of asking directions. Deck wasn’t surprised the couple let them in.

“They’re country folks,” Deck told a detective, according to court records. “They always do.”

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Once inside, Deck pulled a gun from his waistband. At Deck’s command, Zelma Long opened the safe and removed jewelry, then got $200 from her purse and more money hidden in a canister.

Deck ordered the couple to lie on their stomachs on their bed. Court records said Deck stood there for 10 minutes deciding what to do, then shot James Long twice in the head before doing the same thing to Zelma Long.

A tip alerted police to Deck, and he was arrested later that night outside his sister’s apartment building in St. Louis County. The decorative tin canis

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The Execution Of Missouri Man Convicted For Murder The 5th In US This Year

Deck eventually offered a comprehensive account of the killings in oral, written, and audiotaped statements, according to prosecutors. Deck was condemned to death in 1998, however due to errors by Deck’s trial lawyer, the Missouri Supreme Court overturned the judgment.

 

Deck’s second sentence was overturned by the United States Supreme Court in 2005, citing prejudice induced by his shackling in front of the sentencing jury.

In 2008, he was sentenced to death for the third time.

Nine years later, U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry ruled that “significant” evidence arguing against the death penalty in Deck’s first two penalty phases was unavailable for the third due to witnesses’ deaths, inability to be located, or refusal to participate.

Deck should have first addressed his concerns in state court, not federal court, according to a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which restored the death penalty in October 2020. The verdict was overturned on appeal.

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The clemency petition on behalf of Deck cited abuse he suffered as a child, including beatings that left welts and sexual abuse. It said he and his siblings often were left alone without food. Deck’s attorney, Elizabeth Unger Carlyle, said in a statement that Deck also was raped while in prison for theft at age 19.

The Execution Of Missouri Man Convicted For Murder The 5th In US This Year

“This experience transformed him from a non-violent thief into the person who committed two terrible murders,” Carlyle said. She called his execution “unjust and immoral.”

The number of executions in the U.S. has declined significantly since peaking at 98 in 1998. The drop has coincided with declining support, falling from a high of 80% in 1994 to 54% in 2021 according to Gallup polls. Since the mid-1990s, opposition has risen from under 20% to around 45%.

Use of the death penalty has become concentrated mostly in a few Southern and Plains states. Last year, Texas executed three inmates, Oklahoma executed two, and one each were put to death in Alabama, Mississippi and Missouri. Three federal inmates were executed in January 2021, toward the end of President Donald Trump’s administration.

On Monday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee paused executions in his state for the rest of the year to enable a review of lethal injection procedures after a testing oversight forced the state to call off the execution of Oscar Smith an hour before he was to die on April 21.

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