Catholic bishops ask Parson to halt upcoming execution

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Mike Parson

FILE – In this May 29, 2019 file photo, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson addresses the media during a news conference in his Capitol office in Jefferson City, Mo. Missouri’s Republican governor, Parson, is expected to announce that he’s running for a full term in office. Parson has a campaign announcement planned for Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, near his cattle ranch in Bolivar. (Julie Smith/The Jefferson City News-Tribune via AP File)

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) – Missouri’s four Catholic bishops are asking Gov. Mike Parson to spare the life of a convicted killer whose execution is approaching.

Russell Bucklew faces execution Oct. 1 for killing Michael Sanders in Cape Girardeau County in 1996. The Southeast Missourian reports that the bishops are urging Parson to change the sentence to life in prison.

An email message left Thursday with Parson’s spokeswoman wasn’t immediately returned.

Bucklew is 51 and suffers from a rare condition called cavernous hemangioma, which causes blood-filled tumors in his head, neck and throat. His lawyers say he could suffer during the execution process.

Twice before, in 2014 and 2018, last-minute reprieves from the U.S. Supreme Court spared Bucklew. But the Supreme Court ruled in April that Missouri could move ahead with the execution.

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