Missouri on Tuesday executed Ernest Lee Johnson, a 61-year-old Black man convicted for killing three convenience store employees in Columbia in 1994.
Johnson’s lawyers argued that in repeated tests over five decades, testing showed Johnson’s IQ in the 60-70 range, a figure considered well below the adult average, the Kansas City Star reports. The lawyers noted that the Eighth Amendment prohibits execution of the mentally disabled.
In Johnson’s final hours, the U.S. Supreme Court denied his request for a stay. He died by lethal injection at a prison facility in Bonne Terre, Mos., shortly after 6 p.m. Prison officials shared a final statement that he wrote.
“I am sorry and have remorse for what i (sic) do,” he wrote. “I want to say that I love my family and friends. I am thankful of all that my (lawyer) has done for me. They made me feel love as if I was family to them.”
The note continued, “I love the lord with all my heart and soul. If I am executed I no were I am going to heaven. Because I ask him to forgive me.”
Through the years, relatives of Johnson’s victims have supported the execution.