State officials in Missouri are ready to execute a man, who would become their fifth execution in as many months, who was convicted of kidnapping and then raping and murdering a teenage girl who he saw working at a gas station attendant. The girl was strangled.
The man, Jeffery Ferguson, age 59, is scheduled to be put to death at exactly 12:01 a.m. Central Time on Wednesday although the criminals lawyers are filing appeals to delay this process or possibly hault the execution. The man’s biggest case is that an FBI officer testified false or misleading testimony during his trial. If Missouri goes through with the execution and does not grant Ferguson a reprieve then he will be there third execution of this year.
Ferguson was actually convicted twice of his crime. The first conviction which was overturned in 1992 because of an issue with the instructions that the jury was given at the time of the proceedings. He was than convicted at a second trial with the outcome the same, the death penalty.
Ferguson is set to be executed in a state prison facility in Bonne Terre, Missouri. He was arrested, along with an accomplice back in 1989, for the crime he committed on February 9th of that same year. The girl’s naked body was found a little over a week later.
In Missouri there is currently a group committed to demolishing the death penalty who are opposing this execution. They have asked Jay Nixon, the governor of Missouri, to grant clemency to Ferguson. A spokeswoman for the group Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty said that the state and society gains nothing by having him executed. She also said that he is not the same person as he was 25 years ago.
Despite the protests the state attorney general’s office has released a statement which says that there is nothing that is currently prohibiting the state from carrying out the sentence, so it will probably go on as planned.
The prosecution says that on the night of the rape/murder Ferguson was at a bar drinking with a friend when he went to meet a different friend at the gas station where 17 year old Kelli Hall was working the night shift. Apparently Hall had been checking fuel gages in the gas tanks, “when a witness saw her being forced into the back seat of a vehicle by a white male.”
This execution is also an important headline in the state of Missouri because it is occurring during a time when major pharmaceutical companies are disallowing the sale of their drugs to state facilities for executions. This has led states to be caught in a pinch and forced some to accept the “lightly regulated compounding pharmacies” products for their executions. In fact, two executions that were scheduled to occur in March in Oklahoma had to be postponed because the state could not obtain the required drugs. Ferguson’s execution is still slated to continue as planned as Missouri seeks to punish the man convicted of the rape and murder of teenage girl, marking the fifth execution in the last five months in the state.
By Nick Manai