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Anti-death penalty vigils held in Missouri on eve of Rousan execution

The state of Missouri has carried out its fourth execution this year. Just past midnight, William Rousan was executed for the 1993 murder of a 62-year-old woman in southeast Missouri. He was also convicted of killing the woman’s husband in a plan to steal their cows.

Since November, the state of Missouri has executed one person every month. Rousan was number six.

Anti-death penalty groups held 10 vigils around the state on the eve of Rousan’s execution. Jeff Stack is a member of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. He stood outside the Boone County Courthouse with three others saying “another execution tonight” as people walked by.

“We think it’s really vital just to show that there is not universal acceptance of this policy of killing human being,” Stack said.

Opponents of the death penalty, as well as Rousan’s legal team, cited the secrecy of chemical sources for lethal injections as a reason to halt the execution. Earlier this week Oklahoma halted two executions as a challenge to the state’s secretive law around these chemicals.

The Oklahoma decision has not seemed to affect Missouri. After Texas, Missouri and Florida are tied for the most executions in 2014 so far, with four inmates each. 

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