This undated photo provided by Jeremy Weis Photography, shows Russell Bucklew, who is scheduled to die by injection Tuesday, March 20, 2018, for the killing of an ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend in 1996 in eastern Missouri. Bucklew faced with a potentially “horrifying and painful execution because of a rare medical condition that compromises the man’s veins and causes multiple tumors in his head and throat, his lawyer said Sunday. (Jeremy Weis Photography via AP)
The Supreme court of the V. S. granted a stay of execution for the second time in four years on Tuesday to a Missouri inmate who has a rare medical condition that he says can cause blood-filled tumors to burst in his head during the lethal injection.
Russell Bucklew was scheduled to die by injection Tuesday night for killing a former girlfriend, her new boyfriend during a violent rampage in 1996. He would have been the first Missouri inmate put to death since January 2017.
In a statement just before the lethal injection is set to begin, the Supreme court said it granted a stay of execution. The four conservative judges disagree — John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch — did not agree with the decision.
Bucklew, 49, was also within one hour of the implementation in May 2014 to the Supreme court of the V. S. stopped the over concerns about Bucklew’s rare medical condition, cavernous hemangioma. The disorder causes weakened and malformed blood vessels, tumors in his head and throat and on his lips, and vein problems.
His lawyer, Cheryl Pilate, said Bucklew’s condition only gotten worse since that time.
The tumor on Bucklew lip has increased significantly since the years of 2014 and is now the size of a grape, Pilate said. She is of the opinion that the internal tumors have grown, too, and would probably tear and bleed during execution, may cause Bucklew “to choke and cough on his own blood during the lethal injection process.”
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley disagree, writes in his submission to the Supreme Court that the growth in Bucklew mouth shrunk 10 percent between 2010 and 2016.
The condition also compromises his veins, and Pilate said to the fatal injection could not be administered in the usual way through an arm vein. Hawley wrote that the lethal dose of pentobarbital may be administered by means of a leg or other vein instead of the arm.
Pilate had also asked for clemency of the Republican Gov. Eric Greitens. A spokesman for the governor declined comment.
Bucklew of appeal has said that if the execution is carried out, the state of the deadly gas instead of an injection of pentobarbital. Missouri law still provides for the option of a lethal gas, but the state is no longer a gas chamber and has not made use of the method since 1965.
None of the 20 prisoners executed since Missouri began using pentobarbital in 2013 have shown that clear signs of pain or suffering.
Bucklew was angry when his girlfriend, Stephanie Ray, the end of their relationship in 1996. Hawley said in court filings that Bucklew cut Ray’s face with a knife, beat her and threatened to kill her. She took her children and left.
The next two weeks, Bucklew stalked Ray, even if he stole a car, guns, two sets of handcuffs and duct tape. He eventually found out where she was staying and broke in southeast Missouri trailer home of Michael Sanders, Ray’s new boyfriend, fatally shooting him. When Sanders’ 6-year-old son came out from his hiding place, Bucklew shot at the boy and missed.
Bucklew pistol-whipped Ray, her handcuffs and dragged her to his car, where he raped her.
The police chased Bucklew — a chase ends in a shootout that injured an officer. Once in the prison, Bucklew managed to escape and went to the home of Ray’s mother, where he attacked her with a hammer before he was finally captured.