A date in mid July has been set for the execution of prison inmate John Middleton, 54, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1997.
An Adair County jury found Middleton guilty of killing Alfred Pinegar in June of 1995 in north central Missouri.
The Supreme Court of Missouri has scheduled Middleton's execution for July 16th . The warrant of execution was issued this morning at Jefferson City.
Middleton's lawyers still can appeal the execution date. But as of now, Middleton is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. July 16 at the state prison in Bonne Terre. (Mo)
This past March, Middleton's lawyers submitted documents to the Supreme Court in which they claimed new evidence, warrants a new trial. They pointed to alleged questionable conduct by certain investigators.
This week, on-line court records (of May 27) say Middleton's writ of habeas corpus was denied by the Supreme Court. And Middleton's motion for discovery, and appointment of a ‚Äúspecial master‚ÄĚ, also was over-ruled. That would have involved the appointment of another judge to review the investigation and all court proceedings similar to what the Supreme Court allowed in the Mark Woodworth murder case. Then the announcement was made today setting the July date for Middleton's execution.
At the trial held 17 years ago, media reports say prosecutors contended John Middleton shot Alfred Pinegar twice in the back and fatally in the head in June of 1995 because he (Middleton) feared Pinegar would inform police about Middleton's drug dealing.
Another jury in Callaway County convicted Middleton in 1998 for the fatal shooting of two others persons also in June of 1995: Randy Hamilton and Stacy Hodge. The murder trials had been moved on changes of venue from Mercer and Harrison counties.
This is not the first time a date has been set for Middleton's execution.
Information provided by the clerk of the Missouri Supreme Court says Middleton was scheduled to die November 5th of 1999. However, on the day before he was to die, (November 4), the execution was stayed by the court while Middleton sought relief in various state and federal courts. In the years thatfollowed, appeals were filed and and then were over-ruledby the courts.
A news story released by the Associated Press identifies Middleton as a methamphetamine dealer. Missouri has executed four men this year; six since
last November. The next execution is June 18th for convicted killer John Winfield.
Meanwhile, Russell Bucklew's execution, originally scheduled May 21, is on hold after the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay over concerns that Bucklew's rare medical condition could cause him to suffer during lethal injection.