Missouri Execution: Fourth Inmate Executed in 2014


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Death row inmate William Rousan was executed on Wednesday; the execution is the fourth for Missouri in 2014. Rousan was sentenced to death after being found guilty of murdering a couple in 1993.

After being denied clemency by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on Tuesday evening, 57-year-old William Rousan was put to death by lethal injection just after midnight on Wednesday. Rousan was injected with the drugs at 12:01 a.m. and pronounced dead just nine minutes later at Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre.

Rousan, his brother Robert Rousan, and his 16-year-old son Brent Rousan were found guilty in the 1993 slaying that took the lives of Charlie and Grace Lewis. The Rousans shot the couple to death in a plot to steal two cows, a VCR, and some other small items. William Rousan was arrested almost a year after the murders and was the only Rousan to be sentenced to death. Robert Rousan was sentenced to seven years in prison and Brent Rousan is serving life without parole.

"My trials and transgressions have been many," Rousan said, starting his last words. "But thanks be to my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, I have a new home in his heavenly kingdom."

Rousan's execution was Missouri's fourth execution in 2014. The state has executed six inmates total over the past six months.

Of the states that still carry out capital punishment, Missouri has the fifth most executions. Missouri has carried out a total of 74 executions since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstated in the U.S. Seven inmates have been executed in Missouri since 2010, with six of those executions occurring over the past six months.

Missouri's increase in executions has certainly drawn criticism from some. Michael Lewis, who is the son of the victims, spoke about Rousan being put to death and said that he draws no satisfaction from the execution.

“I draw no real satisfaction from Mr. Rousan’s incarceration or execution, for neither can replace or restore the moments lost with my parents or give my sons back the grandparents they never got to know," Lewis said. "Nor can it fully heal the broken hearts and lives of our family, or his family who my heart also goes out to."

Lewis also spoke briefly about his view on capital punishment and says that he thinks it takes too long to carry out the sentence. "As for the death penalty, I think the delay from sentencing to finalization is too long. I have never thought of it as revenge or justice served in terms of an 'eye for eye,' so to speak," Lewis said. "Nor do I see it as a big deterrent to would be criminals. But I still believe it is a humane and permanent prevention of further criminal activities by the convicted inmate.”

Watch Lewis's statement after the execution below.

Image via Wikimedia Commons