Missouri executes man for killing police officer in 2005

BONNE TERRE, Mo. — A Missouri man who was convicted of ambushing and killing a St. Louis officer in 2005, was executed Tuesday evening.

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Kevin Johnson, 37, was executed after an injection of pentobarbital was administered Tuesday evening, becoming the state’s second execution this year and the 17th one nationwide, according to The Associated Press.

Johnson’s attorneys reportedly did not deny that he killed Officer William McEntee, 43, in 2005 but argued that he was given the death sentence because he was Black. According to the AP, multiple courts — including the U.S. Supreme Court — and Republican Gov. Mike Parson did not stop the execution from happening.

Johnson also declined to make a final statement before the pentobarbital was administered, according to the AP.

McEntee was a 20-year veteran with the police department in Kirkwood, which is a suburb of St. Louis. The AP said McEntee was one of multiple officers sent to serve a warrant at Johnson’s house on July 5, 2005. The warrant was for Johnson’s arrest. Johnson was reportedly on probation, for assaulting his girlfriend. It was believed that Johnson had violated his probation which led to the warrant.

Johnson saw officers and woke up his younger brother, who ran to a nearby house. According to the AP, the boy — who had a congenital heart defect — collapsed at the house and began having a seizure. He later died at the hospital. Johnson reportedly believed that McEntee kept his mother from entering the house to aid his brother and he shared that when he testified at trial.

According to the AP, that evening, McEntee went back to the neighborhood on unrelated reports of fireworks going off. According to court records obtained by the AP from the Missouri attorney general’s office, McEntee was questioning three children in his car when Johnson shot him through the open passenger-side window. McEntee was hit in the leg, head and torso. A teenager in the car was also struck but survived. Johnson then got into the car and took McEntee’s gun.

Johnson reportedly went down the street and told his mother what happened, according to the AP. He went back to McEntee’s car, shot him in the back and the head, which killed him.

Johnson had his spiritual advisor, Rev. Darryl Gray, by his side in the execution room. Both men talked and then the drug was administered, according to the AP.

The AP said that more executions are scheduled in Missouri for the first few weeks of 2023.