Brian Dorsey to be executed in Missouri despite overwhelming support

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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) has denied a last-minute attempt to stay the execution of Brian Dorsey, a 52-year-old man convicted of the December 2006 double murder of his cousin and her husband.

“The pain Dorsey caused others can never be rectified, but carrying out Dorsey’s sentence in accordance with Missouri law and the Court’s order will bring justice and closure,” Parson saying in a press release.

Dorsey’s legal team and his supporters had argued that it would be a mistake to execute Dorsey because he has been rehabilitated.

“Governor. “Parson has chosen to ignore the wealth of information before him that shows Brian Dorsey is the only one deserving of mercy,” wrote Dorsey’s attorney, Megan Crane.

  • Dorsey, who is being held at the Potosi Correctional Facility in Washington County, Missouri, is scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. local time on Tuesday.
  • His execution warrant was issued on December 13, 2023 for shooting and killing the two family members with a shotgun.
  • It has “unprecedented” written support of more than 70 prison staff, including the former warden, who say he should not be executed, their lawyers wrote. He has had an impeccable disciplinary record during his 17 years on death row, they added.
  • Family members argued for and against Dorsey’s pardon. A statement from Sarah Bonnie’s side of the family given to the local television station. KOMU He argued that Dorsey should not receive any pardon because the couple’s daughter never knew her parents. Meanwhile, video provided Dorsey’s lawyers show his cousins ​​saying they want his life spared.

Two days before Christmas 2006, Dorsey’s cousin, Sarah Bonnie, and her husband, Ben Bonnie, took Dorsey in because a pair of drug dealers were threatening to collect on his drug debt. according according to a news release from Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey.

Dorsey was in a “psychotic state” from not sleeping for 72 hours while using crack, according to his lawyers. That night, prosecutors said, Dorsey shot the couple with his own shotgun in their bed. They left behind a 4-year-old daughter.

Prosecutors said Dorsey took a cell phone, jewelry, two firearms and a copy of “Bambi II” belonging to the victims’ daughter. He took the items to pay off his drug debt, according to the judicial files presented by prosecutors.

When he learned police were looking for him, he turned himself in and cooperated, his attorneys wrote.

Dorsey’s current attorneys argued that their client received ineffective counsel at his trial.

The trial attorneys did not conduct any investigation, his current attorneys wrote, adding that they “obtained nothing for Mr. Dorsey in return for his guilty plea.”

They say the original attorneys failed to disclose that Dorsey was suffering from drug-induced psychosis. Current attorneys argue that part of the reason may be financial: Trial attorneys received a flat fee of $12,000, a practice that Mary Fox, director of the Missouri State Public Defender System, said discouraged exhaustive work.

Fox wrote a letter to the courts arguing that the flat fee is an issue in this case because it has since been recognized as a violation of American Bar Association guidelines and the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct.

“The Missouri State Public Defender recognizes the prevalence of unconstitutional and ineffective assistance of counsel in flat-fee death penalty cases,” he wrote.

Three years before the crime, the American Bar Association wrote that “death penalty attorneys should be fully compensated at a rate that is commensurate with the provision of high-quality legal representation and reflects the extraordinary responsibilities inherent to representation in the death penalty.”

Dorsey was diagnosed with major depressive disorder when he was young, his attorneys wrote, and medication did not help him. He later began self-mediating with crack cocaine when he was a teenager, according to his lawyers.

An open question in this case is whether the Eighth Amendment protects people who have been rehabilitated from execution, his lawyers argued in their latest attempt to stay the execution.

“Given Mr. Dorsey’s unsurpassed record on Missouri’s death row, this case presents the best vehicle for the Court to address this issue,” his attorneys wrote.

  • Dorsey has been called a model inmate, living in the honor dorm and working as the prison barber. He cuts the hair of prison guards, Dorsey’s lawyers wrote.
  • Retired warden Troy Steele, who ran the Potosí Correctional Facility, wrote of Dorsey that “his behavior is considered exceptional, as he has not received reports of any type of misconduct.” He wrote that Dorsey has achieved the “highest levels of respect and trust” from prison staff.
  • A group of more than 70 prison staff members wrote a letter to the governor of Parson, Missouri, saying they normally favor the death penalty, but “agree that the death penalty is not is the appropriate punishment for Brian.” Dorsey,” according to a court filing. They said they know he was convicted of murder, but that’s not the Brian they “know.”
  • “Brian has spent every day of his time in prison trying to make amends for his crime, and dozens of correctional officers have attested to his remorse, transformation and commitment to service,” said Crane, his attorney. “Brian’s unprecedented support and irrefutable evidence of his redemption are precisely the circumstances for which clemency is designed. “Allowing Brian to be executed despite this truth is devastating.”

Kim Bellware contributed to this report.

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