Missouri - Agencies start to prepare for Middleton Execution

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Missouri - Agencies start to prepare for Middleton Execution

Post  Jennie on Tue Jun 17, 2008 11:38 pm

Agencies start to prepare for Middleton execution

John Middleton sits on Missouriís death row, in full knowledge that daily he moves closer to an execution date.

Mr. Middleton, 48, of Spickard, Mo., is one of two inmates the Missouri Department of Corrections recently identified as next in line for state executions. He was convicted for the murders of Alfred Pinegar, Stacy Hodge and Randy Hamilton in 1995. He is one of 47 capital punishment inmates held at the prison in Potosi, Mo., in the southeast part of the state.

The Missouri Supreme Court has said it will set Mr. Middletonís execution ďin due course.Ē Beyond that phrase, however, there is no indication of a date when heíll be taken from his cell to the facility located in the prison at nearby Bonne Terre, Mo.

"That kind of gives us an idea of setting a date," said Brian Hauswirth, a corrections spokesman, of the courtís announcement. "It's impossible to predict.

"We have our execution team in place ... We're ready to go."

Yet the department needs a month in advance to prepare for executions, he said.

"There's a lot of preparation that needs to be made," he added.

The time is needed to notify other state officials ó such as the governor's and attorney general's offices ó and to assemble necessary security and staff to accompany Mr. Middleton to the execution site, where a lethal injection will be administered.

The state informs federal court officials about plans to have medical personnel on hand.

"Our lead attorney will be there," Mr. Hauswirth added.

Supreme Court spokeswoman Mary Epping also said only the order has been given to resume Missouriís executions.

"There has not been any other order or motions," she said.

The bodies of Ms. Hodge and Mr. Hamilton were found in the trunk of a car in Mercer County. Both had been shot to death. Mr. Pinegar's body was discovered in a remote area of Grundy County. He also had been shot.

Testimony revealed that the deaths were linked to a methamphetamine operation run by Mr. Middleton.

Missouri's last execution, that of Marlin Gray for 2 first-degree murder convictions, was in October 2005.

(source: St. Joseph News-Press)

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