Missouri carries out fifth execution

BONNE TERRE, Mo. (KSDK) – The state of Missouri says 59-year-old Jeffrey Ferguson was given a lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday morning and ten minutes later he was pronounced dead.

In an interview one week earlier Ferguson said in an interview with Misourinet he planned to make "a funny face" in the execution chamber to make his family and friends witnessing his execution smile. Pool reporters who witness the state's fifth execution in the past five months say it appeared he did just that. Missouri Department of Public Safety spokesman Mike O'Connell reports Ferguson "stuck out his tongue and wiggled it" in the direction of those in attendance on his behalf.

Ferguson was executed for the 1989 rape and murder of 17-year-old Kelli Hall of St. Charles. She was abducted from a St. Charles gas station. Her frozen body was found 13 days later on a St. Louis County farm.

After Ferguson's execution her father Jim Hall spoke to reporters. He described how his daughter died and the fear he says she must have felt.

"The man who just died because of this felt an iota of the fear she felt," said Hall, flanked by Kelli's mother, brother and other family members.

"It's been so long, it tested our ability to move forward. Hopefully, now we can move forward," said Hall. "We'll find that out starting tomorrow."

State officials released a "last statement" written by Ferguson. It reads, in part:

"At this point in my life, I believe that I am the best man that I've ever been. The most responsible and peaceful person ever and the closest to God than I've ever been. I'm sorry to have to be the cause that brings you all into this dark business of execution. I pray for the victim's family to have peace in their hearts one day and lose the anger, hate and need for revenge that has driven them. I pray that they find forgiveness, compassion and love in their hearts instead."

You can read the full statement below:

Earlier story

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KSDK) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a stay of execution for Jeffrey Ferguson, who is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon also denied clemency Tuesday afternoon.

Ferguson is convicted of raping and strangling 17-year-old Kelli Hall after abducting her from a St. Charles gas station. Her frozen body was discovered 13 days later on a St. Louis County farm.

Nixon released the following statement about his decision to deny clemency:

Earlier today, I received from my counsel a final briefing on the petition for clemency from Jeffrey Ferguson, which has been reviewed in detail. After careful deliberation, I have denied this petition. This is a process and a gubernatorial power I do not take lightly. The specific circumstances and set of facts for each case are – and must be – considered on their own.

Kelli Hall was only 17 when she was abducted from her workplace, raped and brutally murdered. Her life, so full of promise, was brutally taken from her and her family. The jury that convicted Jeffrey Ferguson of Kelli's murder found that the aggravating circumstances for this crime warranted the death penalty. My decision today upholds that appropriate sentence.

I ask that the people of Missouri remember Kelli Hall and keep her family in their thoughts and prayers.

Ferguson could be the fifth person executed in Missouri in five months. It's also the fifth execution since Missouri switched to using a single drug, pentobarbital.


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