Judge denies 19-year-old’s request to witness father’s execution

Published: Nov. 26, 2022 at 9:42 AM HST
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV/Gray News) -A federal court judge has denied a 19-year-old’s request to watch her father’s execution.

For more than a decade, Kevin Johnson has sat on death row for killing Kirkwood Police Sgt. William McEntee. He faces execution by lethal injection for the July 2005 killing.

On Friday, a federal court judge denied Johnson’s daughter Khorry Ramey’s request to watch the execution.

Witnesses to an execution must be at least 21 years old under current Missouri law.

Michelle Smith with Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty read a statement for Ramey, who claimed the judge’s decision will cause her an immense amount of pain.

“It is excruciating to know that I am about to lose my dad all over again when the state of Missouri kills him,” Smith read. “Yet I cannot be present for his death simply because of my age.”

Johnson’s attorney, Shawn Nolan, was also pushing for Ramey to be able to attend.

“It’s ironic that Kevin was 19 years old when he committed this crime, and they are still trying to move forward with his execution, though they won’t allow his daughter, who is 19, [witness the execution] because she’s too young,” Nolan said.

In Ramey’s statement, she said it was not only her desire to be a witness but also what her dad wanted.

“I am my dad’s closest living relative, and he is mine, other than my baby son,” Smith read. “If my dad was dying in a hospital, I would sit by his side, holding his hand and praying for him until his death. Both as a source of support for him and for me as a necessary part of my grieving process and for my piece of mind.”

Many people are asking Missouri Gov. Mike Parson to grant clemency.

“I was surprised by his remarks,” Nolan said. “I would say the governor should be more concerned about racism in the court system in Missouri. We’re hopeful that maybe he’ll take a second look at it and review all of the information that we put forth in the clemency petition.”

Earlier this week, Parson told KMOV that as far as his office is concerned, the execution will continue as planned.

“You got a guy who went over there, cold-blooded killed a police officer by two shots in the head after he shot him multiple times,” Parson said. “It’s a pretty vicious crime. Sometimes you have to answer the consequences to that.”

Johnson’s execution is set for Tuesday.

On Monday, the Missouri Supreme Court will hear arguments on a request for a stay of execution, which would delay the execution from moving forward on Tuesday.