Missouri Gov. Parson denies clemency to Michael Tisius, execution to go forward Tuesday

Missouri’s third execution this year will go forward on Tuesday, Gov. Mike Parson announced Monday.

Michael Tisius is scheduled to die by lethal injection at Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri.

Now 42, Tisius was 19 when he shot and killed two jailers in 2000 in Randolph County.

His legal team applied for clemency with Parson’s office, citing Tisius’ age at the time, his sense of remorse and a co-defendant’s role in the botched escape attempt that led to the shooting. They also uncovered evidence that one of the jurors was not able to read or write, a condition required by Missouri law to serve on a jury.

Last week, a federal court judge ordered a temporary stay of execution so an evidentiary hearing could be held on the juror’s qualifications. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the stay on Friday.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay request on Monday.

Several organizations have expressed opposition to the execution, including the American Bar Association, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Missouri State Public Defender’s office and the Missouri NAACP. Five jurors also said they support commuting the sentence to life without parole.

Tisius murdered Jason Acton and Leon Egley during a botched attempt to free a man he knew, Roy Vance. Vance and a third co-defendant, Tracie Bulington, are serving life sentences. Vance has since admitted he was the one who planned the escape and also said, “I knew I could manipulate him (Tisius) into what I wanted him to do.”

Parson said Missouri’s judicial system provided Tisius with due process and fair proceedings.

“Having run a small county jail, I know firsthand the hard work and selflessness displayed by those who work there,” Parson said in a statement. “It’s despicable that two dedicated public servants were murdered in a failed attempt to help another criminal evade the law.”

Randolph County Sheriff Aaron Wilson previously told The Star that he supports moving forward with the execution.

The state has put two people to death this year: Amber McLaughlin, 49, the first openly transgender woman, was executed Jan. 3. Leonard “Raheem” Taylor, 58, who maintained his innocence in a quadruple killing, was executed Feb. 7.

A fourth person is scheduled for execution in August. Attorneys for Johnny Johnson have filed a petition to halt his execution, saying the 45 year old suffers from mental illness including schizophrenia.

Parson has not granted clemency in a death penalty case.

The Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center, a Missouri prison in Bonne Terre, is shown in this Feb. 7, 2023 photograph. On Feb. 7, Leonard “Raheem” Taylor, 58, was executed by the state for a 2004 quadruple murder in which he claimed innocence.