After a Missouri judge upheld a law that stated she was too young, a teenager was denied permission to see her father die in Missouri by lethal injection.
Kevin Johnson, 37 years old, will be executed on Tuesday 29 November for killing a police officer in 2005. He was 19.
Corionsa “Khorry”, Johnson’s daughter, was just two years old when Johnson was arrested for the murder of William McEntee at Kirkwood, Missouri.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed an emergency lawsuit on behalf of Ms. Ramey, now 19. It asked a federal court for permission to view her father’s last moments.
Johnson placed his daughter on the witness list to assist in the execution. She wants to be there.
Missouri law says that anyone under 21 cannot witness an execution.
ACLU argued that the statute violates Ms Ramey’s constitutional rights and serves little purpose. They also added that the age threshold was “not reasonable”.
Brian Wimes, a US District Judge, has ruled in favor of the teenager. He said that it was in the public’s interest to allow states to apply their laws and manage state prisons without the intervention of the courts.
In a written ruling, the judge said the lawsuit had failed to demonstrate “unconstitutionality”.
Ms. Ramey stated in a statement that she was “heartbroken” that her father will not be able to see her. She also said that Johnson had “worked very hard to recover himself in prison”.
The teenager now hopes that Mike Parson, Missouri’s Republican governor will grant her father clemency.
The ACLU called upon Missouri to “do right by” Ms. Ramey. They tweeted: “A federal judge denied Ramey’s request for witnessing her father’s execution.
“A state that kills its citizens is not dignity – the state of Missouri can still rightly by Khorry if her father is granted clemency.”
Shawn Nolan Johnson’s lawyer told journalists that Johnson was 19 when he committed the crime. They still want to proceed with the execution and will continue to do so. But they won’t let his daughter in, who is 19 at this point, because she’s too young.
Johnson’s legal representatives have also appealed to stop his execution.
They don’t contest his guilt, but they claim that racism influenced the decision to seek death penalty and the jury’s decision not to sentence him to death, over Mr McEntee’s murder, who was of African descent.
Lawyers claim that Johnson also had a history with mental illness.
McEntee was a father of three children and a married man. He was one of several officers sent to Johnson’s house to serve an arrest warrant for an alleged probation violation.
Johnson’s 12-year-old brother, who had a congenital heart defect and was prone to seizures, fell ill.
He later died in hospital.
Johnson shot McEntree several times when he returned to the area to investigate reports of fireworks being set off.
Missourians for Alternatives to the death Penalty, a non-profit campaign group, claims Johnson’s “abusive” childhood and the sudden death his younger brother caused Johnson to take “regrettable” actions.
The organisation tweeted that Kevin Johnson was a loving father, grandfather and grandfather. He’s committed to being the best dad he can and has remained positive and steady presence in his daughter’s life.”
“I would stand by his side, and hold his hand”
Ms. Ramey stated that she would attend the execution as part of the grieving process and for peace of mind in a news conference before the judge made her decision.
Despite his imprisonment, she has maintained close contact with her father.
Ms Ramey stated that she is my father’s closest living relative, and he is mine.
“If my father were in death, I would be there by his side, holding his hand and praying till his passing.”
After giving birth in September, the nursing assistant traveled to Missouri’s Potosi Correctional Centre, Missouri, to introduce Kiaus to her grandfather.
She said, “It was a beautiful, but bittersweet moment for me because it might have been the only time my father would get (his) grandson to hold”
Corene Kendrick (Ms Ramey’s attorney) said that the issue of an individual’s age preventing them from witnessing an execution only rarely arises.
Nevada is the only state with a 21-year-old age limit. The federal government and all other states do not have any age restrictions.