William Rousan, 57, was pronounced dead at 12:10 a.m. (1.10 a.m.
EDT) at a state prison in Bonne Terre, said Mike O'Connell, a
spokesman for the state's Department of Public Safety.
Rousan was sentenced to death for the murder of 62-year-old Grace
Lewis and life in prison without parole for the murder of her
67-year-old husband Charles. Authorities said he was the mastermind
in a siege that included his son and his brother, Robert, a
spokeswoman for Missouri's top lawyer said.
"(Rousan) showed his true character by ordering his 16-year-old son
to kill Mrs. Lewis, all so they could steal two cows, soda, a VCR,
and some jewelry," Attorney General Chris Koster said in a
Rousan's final meal was a bacon cheeseburger, onion rings, a slice
of pecan pie and a soft drink, O'Connell said.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay his execution.
Rousan's attorneys had argued that Missouri's secrecy around its
lethal injection drugs could result in undue suffering for the
inmate as he was put to death.
After the court denial, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon denied a
clemency request, clearing the way for Rousan's execution.
Controversy has arisen over lethal injection drugs as many states
have turned to lightly regulated compounding pharmacies for supplies
after the makers of drugs traditionally used in lethal injections
largely stopped supplying them for executions.
Advocates for death row inmates say the convicts have a right to
know the legitimacy of the supplier and details about the purity and
potency of the drugs.
And they say the compounded drugs, which are not approved by the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, could lead to undue suffering
that amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the
O'Connell said Rousan showed no signs of distress, adding a witness
said Rousan took two deep breaths and then stopped breathing.
The slain couple's son, Michael Lewis, told reporters after the
execution that he drew "no real satisfaction from Mr. Rousan's
incarceration or execution," because neither could bring his parents
[to top of second column]
Rousan, in a final written statement, said: "My trials and
transgressions have been many."
In their petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, Rousan's attorneys had
said the state was planning to use "compounded pentobarbital
prepared by an unknown person in an unknown manner, without any
assurance by an accredited laboratory that the substance is what the
state purports it to be."
Last year, Missouri started classifying compounding pharmacies as
part of its execution team and said the identities of the pharmacies
were thus shielded from public disclosure.
But attorneys for Rousan argued he had a right to know what he would
be injected with.
Similar arguments have been made on behalf of inmates in other
states. On Monday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court halted the executions
of Clayton Lockett, set for Tuesday, and Charles Warner, set for
Louisiana and Ohio have seen executions delayed this year because of
concerns about suffering that might be caused by non-traditional
The family of one inmate executed in Ohio in January has filed suit
against the state because, according to some witnesses, he took an
unusually long time to die and appeared to be in pain.
(Reporting by Carey Gillam and Eric M. Johnson;
by Heide Brandes in Oklahoma City; editing by Cynthia Osterman,
Mohammad Zargham and Clarence Fernandez)
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