A DEATH row inmate who beat one of his three victims "until part of her brain was missing" is to be executed on Tuesday.
Ernest Lee Johnson, 61, is scheduled to die by injection at the Missouri state prison in Bonne Terre after killing three store workers during a closing-time robbery in 1994.
Now the daughter of victim Mary Bratcher has hit out at attempts to halt his execution due to intellectual disability.
Lorrie Heichelbech said: "Yes.. Part of me feels sadden that human life is going to be destroyed.But let's not get it twisted. Mable Scruggs, Fred Jones, Mary Bratcher are the real victims here.
"Truthfully me, my brother and my sister all lost the place we called home. A piece of all of us died on February 13, 1994."
'A TINY PIECE OF KARMA'
Lorrie called a tumor which in 2008 saw up to 20 per cent of Johnson's brain tissue removed "karma" and added: "Well, he beat my mother so badly she was missing part of her frontal lobe.
"I guess that tumor was a tiny piece of Karma."
Johnson was convicted of killing Bratcher, 46, as well as her colleagues Mable Scruggs, 57, and Fred Jones, 58, at Casey’s General Store in Columbia in February 1994.
He had wanted money to buy drugs, authorities said.
Lorrie added: "Since no one wants to talk about the real victims in this.
"Her name was Mary Bratcher. It was my mother. She was a good person. She was all I had. She was pure joy. And you took her from me.
"He: 1, planned a robbery he visited the store seven times that day. Casing the joint. Asking how many people would be working. Getting two young men to get him a gun.
"2, He executed the robbery. While in the commission of a crime he beat 3 people to death with a hammer.
"He tried to hide and burn all the incriminating evidence.
"Went shopping for valentines gifts the next day at the mall. After being high all night buying crack with the money from the robbery."
POPE APPEALS FOR CLEMENCY
Johnson's execution would be the first execution in Missouri since convicted killer Walter Barton was put to death in May 2020.
His attorney Kansas City public defender Jeremy Weis had argued Johnson “meets all statutory and clinical definitions” of intellectual disability and has an IQ that in various tests has ranged from 67 to 77.
Weis said Johnson also was born with fetal alcohol syndrom.
The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits executing intellectually disabled people.
Pope Francis and Missouri lawmakers Cori Bush and Emanuel Cleaver II are among those who requested clemency.
But that was denied by Republican Gov. Michael Parson on Monday.
CLAW HAMMER DEATH
All three workers were beaten to death with a claw hammer.
Bratcher also was stabbed at least 10 times with a screwdriver and Jones was shot in the face. The bodies were hid in a cooler.
Johnson was arrested after police found a bank bag, stolen money and store receipts at his home.
He had previously asked that his execution be carried out by firing squad.
His lawyers argued that Missouri’s lethal injection drug, pentobarbital, could trigger seizures.
But Missouri law does not authorize execution by firing squad and the U.S. Supreme Court in May refused to consider Johnson’s appeal.
The Missouri Supreme Court also declined to halt the execution based on concerns about the drug.
Johnson has been sentenced to death three times.
He was already on death row in 2001 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that executing the mentally ill was unconstitutionally cruel and a new sentencing hearing was ordered.
Johnson was again sentenced to death in 2003. The Missouri Supreme Court tossed that sentence, too.
In 2006, Johnson was sentenced to death again. His team filed a last minute appeal to the Supreme Court on Monday.
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