Not even a lip-read goodbye or a farewell gesture is allowed.
“It is unbearable to know that I am about to lose my father again when the state of Missouri kills him and that I cannot be present at his execution simply because of my age,” Corionsa Khorry Ramey wrote in her emergency court petition against the law. state.
Ramy is 19 years old and has been denied attendance at the execution of his father, Kevin Johnson, 37, scheduled for Tuesday at Bonne Terre prison.
The refusal is based on the fact that in Missouri there is a minimum age of 21 years to witness an execution. Judge Brian Wimes argued that Ramey, who is of legal age to vote or buy a gun, could suffer emotional harm and found that none of his constitutional rights were violated.
Johnson was convicted and sentenced to death for killing police officer William McEntee in 2005 in the town of Krirkwood. The agent had three children.
His lawyers have made numerous appeals to stop the execution, according to the ACLU, the civil rights group that is supporting Ramy in this case.
In her request to attend her father's last breath, the daughter argued that he is the only direct relative she has left, after her mother was murdered, a situation she witnessed when she was a four-year-old girl.
Despite being in prison for the last 17 years (Ramey was only two), she assured that she has maintained a close relationship with her father, with whom she spoke every week. Last month she was even able to introduce him to her son, the inmate's grandson.
Johnson requested that Ramey be one of five witnesses allowed to attend the lethal injection, as stated in the complaint.
"It breaks my heart not to be able to be with my father at that definitive moment," the daughter remarked in a statement released via the ACLU, an institution that defends that the age requirement does not serve any security purpose. “My father is the most important person in my life. He has been with me all my life, even when I was incarcerated, ”she stressed.
In that statement, he maintained that his father has worked hard to rehabilitate himself all these years on death row. “I pray that the governor of Missouri will have mercy and clemency,” he added. Republican Gov. Mike Parson has so far not shown much interest in that request.
Johnson's defense is not challenging the guilty verdict, but the fatal sentence is. He fights for a change, for life imprisonment.
On appeal, supported by a special prosecutor, the lawyers argued that racism played a prominent role when the jury handed down the death sentence. Johnson is a black man and the deceased was a white police officer.
They requested the intervention of the court for various reasons. Among others, her history of mental illness and his age. He was only 19 years old when the crime occurred. Justice has moved further and further away from sentencing adolescent delinquents to death since in 2005 it prohibited the execution of a convict who had not yet turned 18 at the time of his crime.
In filings with the US Supreme Court, the Missouri attorney general replied that there are no grounds for high court intervention.
"The relatives of Johnson's victim have waited a long time for justice, and every day they wait is another day they are denied the chance to find rest after their loss," he said.
You have to go back to July 5, 2005. Kirkwood police were investigating a vehicle belonging to Johnson, who was wanted for breaking probation in another case. They were checking that car detected near the wanted man's house and his brother, 12-year-old Joseph Bam Bam Long, suffered a seizure.
Several police officers came, including McEntee, in response to a medical emergency. Long died at a hospital from pre-existing heart disease. Johnson accused McEntee of not doing enough to save him and shot him after meeting him earlier that day.