Another Strange Twist in the Ernest Lee Johnson Story and His Scheduled Execution

In 1994, Ernest Lee Johnson was convicted and sentenced to death for killing three people in a convenience store in Columbia, Missouri. The incident took place on February 12, 1994 and robbery was apparently the initial motive and that somehow quickly escalated to murder as the event unfolded. During the day of the murder, and since the time of his conviction, there has been a strange string of events including Mr. Johnson suggesting himself that he could be put to death by using lethal gas.

The day of the murders was a day that was full of strange happenings. Some of this may be explained by Mr. Johnson’s own admission – he was high on crack cocaine during much of the day and at the time of the murders. The incident took place in a convenience store that Mr. Johnson frequented, but on this day he was in there numerous times asking bizarre questions and acting strangely; it makes one wonder why it did not raise some red flags with the employees there. Police were unsure what led to Mr. Johnson murdering the victims during the robbery attempt. The murders themselves were carried out in brutal fashion with a claw hammer despite the fact that Mr. Johnson had in his possession a loaded weapon that he did fire more than once.

Ernest Lee JohnsonAs of 2008, Mr. Johnson had still not had his death sentence carried out and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. That was successfully removed, but left a small hole in his head. In another strange twist, Mr. Johnson’s attorneys argued that because of the damage to the brain area that took place during the tumor removal, that lethal injection was risky and inhumane because it would most likely cause seizures and convulsions. As part of the appeal, the Supreme Court required Mr. Johnson’s attorneys to state another form of execution and that is what led to death by nitrogen gas being brought up by the convicted murderer himself.

Under Missouri Law, both lethal injection and lethal gas are approved forms of lawful execution. There are only two problems with the convicted murderer’s request to be executed by means of lethal gas. The first is that nitrogen gas has never been used in carrying out a death penalty sentence before; even though a study that was done on its feasibility by a commission in Oklahoma suggested it would probably fill all the requirements for a humane execution. The other problem is much bigger and that is, at the current time, no Missouri correctional facility has a working gas chamber.

Having the convicted murderer suggest using the gas chamber to die and also suggest they use an unproven method of doing it only makes Mr. Johnsons case that much stranger. If they were worried about complications from known lethal injection drugs, then surely they would be opposed to using a lethal gas that had never been tested before. One can only wonder what strange event will take place next surrounding the bizarre murder and the subsequent craziness that has surrounded his time on death row.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Craig Smith

Craig has been writing for several years but just recently made freelance writing a full time profession after leaving behind 26 years working in the swimming pool construction industry. He served four years in the US Air Force as an Imagery Interpreter Specialist in Okinawa, Japan and at SAC Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. As a staunch supporter of law enforcement personnel, emergency medical technicians, firemen, search and rescue personnel and those who serve in the military, Craig is proud to contribute to the US Patriot blog on their behalf.
Craig Smith
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