Missouri Governor Mike Parson: Execution of Walter Barton “will move forward as scheduled”

Walter Barton Mugshot

The governor says the execution of a convicted southwest Missouri killer will move forward, clearing the way for Tuesday evening’s scheduled execution in Bonne Terre.

Governor Mike Parson told Capitol reporters on Monday in Jefferson City that he hasn’t seen any reason to intervene in Walter Barton’s scheduled execution, saying “that will move forward as scheduled.”

Parson spokeswoman Kelli Jones told Missourinet on Monday evening that, at this time, “Governor Parson fully anticipates carrying out the court order and discharging his duties as prescribed by law, on May 19.”

In another defeat for Barton, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes’ stay in the case. In a nine-page ruling, the Circuit Court of Appeals wrote, in part: “We vacate the stay of execution and remand with instructions to dismiss Barton’s petition because we see no possibility of success on the merits of either of Barton’s claims.”

Barton’s attorneys have made two main claims: that he is innocent and is also incompetent to be put to death.

Barring intervention from the U.S. Supreme Court, Barton will be executed by lethal injection Tuesday night at the maximum-security prison in Bonne Terre.

He was convicted of first-degree murder for the 1991 killing of 81-year-old Gladys Kuehler in Ozark, south of Springfield. She managed a mobile home park. Court documents say that Kuehler, who was unable to move without the assistance of a cane, was stabbed more than 50 times, including 23 times in the back.

The court documents also indicate that her throat “had been cut from ear to ear.”

Judge Wimes issued the stay of execution on Friday, saying he needed more time to review the claims from Barton’s lawyers.

This case has been working its way through the state and federal court system for almost 30 years. The “Springfield News-Leader” notes Barton was first convicted in 1994 and ended up having five trials because two convictions were overturned on appeal.

Barton’s attorneys are hoping the U.S. Supreme Court will consider the case on Tuesday. Unless the U.S. Supreme Court issues a stay, Barton will be executed.

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Brian Hauswirth

About Brian Hauswirth

Brian Hauswirth began as Missourinet news director in July 2016. He anchors daily newscasts, simulcasts and special reports from the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, where he primarily covers the Missouri House and numerous legislative committee hearings.