Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stop the Execution

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stop the Execution

Article excerpt

International attention has been focused on the impending execution in Missouri of Alan J. Bannister, who has been sentenced to die for a murder committed in 1982. His execution by lethal injection is set for Wednesday. A federal judge in Kansas City had stayed the execution but the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals here reinstated it.

Gov. Mel Carnahan ought to spare Bannister, not because he is innocent but because the state should not kill people.

The case against Bannister for the death of Darrell Ruestman is a complex interstate tale of drugs, double-crossing and retribution, but efforts to spare his life center on one key question: Was the murder a contract killing? Bannister doesn't deny shooting Ruestman, but his attorneys contend it happened during a struggle, not as a premeditated act for hire. At worst, they argue, he should be convicted of second-degree murder, not the capital murder charge that led to his death sentence.

Bannister's case became an international issue through the efforts of Stephen Trombley, an investigative journalist who has shot a documentary and written a book, both titled "The Execution Protocol," about Missouri's Death Row inmates at Potosi. …

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