Kevin Johnson executed in Missouri for 2005 killing of St. Louis area police officer

The state of Missouri carried out the execution of Kevin Johnson Tuesday evening, the Missouri Department of Corrections said.

The 37-year-old died by lethal injection. He was pronounced dead at 7:40 p.m.

On July 5, 2005, Johnson shot and killed Kirkwood Police Department Sgt. William McEntee, a husband and father of three.

The Kirkwood Police Department declined Tuesday to comment on the execution.

Johnson’s first trial ended in a hung jury. A second jury found him guilty and sentenced him to death.

In August, the Missouri Supreme Court set Nov. 29 as his execution date.

Johnson’s legal team, along with a special prosecutor, filed several motions in county, state and federal court in attempts to halt the execution. They argued Johnson’s trial was “infected” by racial bias on the part of former St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch.

Early Monday, Johnson wrote an email to a Star reporter saying, “What I am so afraid of is leaving people behind.”

“I am unconditionally sorry for my actions.”

The Missouri Supreme Court rejected a motion to stay the execution late Monday.

Shortly after 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an application to stay the execution submitted earlier in the day. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson dissented.

Johnson’s 19-year-old daughter was not allowed to be at her father’s execution. Missouri law says witnesses must be at least 21 years old.

“We’re sending prayers and wishes for peace and healing to everybody who’s been affected by the horrific events,” special prosecutor E.E. Keenan said Tuesday.

The ACLU of Missouri condemned the state’s decision to execute Johnson.

“Missouri’s refusal to allow an investigation into the systemic racism — that its own special prosecutor recognized as the cause of this death sentence — delays an overdue reckoning with how Missouri’s justice system perpetuates white supremacy,” said Anthony Rothert, director of integrated advocacy for the ACLU of Missouri.

Johnson is the second person executed in Missouri this year. On May 3, Carman Deck was executed after being convicted of a double murder. Two more Missouri executions are scheduled for early next year, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Kevin Johnson is pictured with his daughter Khorry and her newborn son. ACLU
Kevin Johnson is pictured with his daughter Khorry and her newborn son. ACLU