Pope Francis has joined Congressional Representatives Cori Bush and Emanuel Cleaver II to encourage Missouri governor Michael Parson to halt the execution of Ernest Lee Johnson, a Black man with disabilities.
Pervis Payne, a Black man who was convicted for murder 33 years ago, will be executed in December, despite DNA evidence that could prove his innocence (CNN). While the execution of an intellectually disabled person is unconstitutional, the court didn’t recognize Payne’s disability at the time of his trial (Tennessean). The Innocence Project, a legal organization that works to exonerate the wrongfully convicted, is trying to stop Payne’s execution. As of today, “375 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing, including 21 who served time on death row” (The Innocence Project).