A Missouri inmate was executed yesterday for killing a man in a fit of rage over child support payments 16 years ago. Andre Cole, 52, became the third convicted killer put to death this year in Missouri. His fate was sealed after the Supreme Court turned down several appeals, including one claiming Cole was mentally ill and unfit for execution. Also yesterday, Gov. Jay Nixon refused a clemency petition that raised concerns about the fact that Cole, who was black, was convicted and sentenced by an all-white jury. A rep for the Missouri Department of Corrections said Cole was executed by lethal injection at 10:15pm and pronounced dead nine minutes later. He declined to make a final statement or take a last meal or sedatives. He breathed deeply a few times as the drug was administered.
"It was a one-time thing," said Cole's brother of the 1998 knife attack; Cole was convicted of forcing his way into his ex-wife's house and stabbing her and a friend—the latter fatally—over garnished wages. "He didn't have a history of that kind of behavior." The jury itself was the source of the clemency request to Nixon. Advocates for Cole, including the NAACP, the ACLU, and others, said his case was among many in which St. Louis County prosecutors unfairly prohibited black jurors from hearing a death penalty case involving a black suspect. All 12 jurors in Cole's case were white. Kimber Edwards, who was scheduled for execution in May, was also convicted and sentenced by an all-white jury. The Missouri Supreme Court, without explanation, canceled the execution orders for Edwards earlier this month. (Read more execution stories.)