Missouri Supreme Court orders execution of convicted killer Russell Bucklew

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 | 2:37 p.m. CDT; updated 12:09 a.m. CDT, Thursday, April 10, 2014
Convicted killer Russell Bucklew is set to be executed by injection on May 21 for shooting a Cape Girardeau County man to death in 1996. This is the fourth execution ordered by the Missouri Supreme Court in 2014. Missouri has executed 73 people convicted of murder since 1989.

*CORRECTION: A previous version of this article, as well as a headline, misspelled Russell Bucklew's first name.

COLUMBIA — The Missouri Supreme Court announced Wednesday that Russell* Bucklew's execution is set for 12:01 a.m. May 21.

Bucklew was convicted of first degree murder in 1997 by Boone County Circuit Court and has appealed his conviction since then. He received a stay of execution from the Missouri Supreme Court in 1998.

His execution would be the fourth ordered by the Supreme Court in 2014.

There has recently been controversy around Missouri state executions because of the state's failure to disclose the pharmacy the drugs are from and there has been a push to make the system more transparent.

Bucklew, 45, was convicted in the fatal shooting of Michael Sanders in Cape Girardeau County. Sanders was killed on March 21, 1996, about a month after Bucklew and his girlfriend broke up. Bucklew had determined that Sanders was a romantic rival. Authorities said he went to Sanders' mobile home and shot him while his ex-girlfriend and Sanders' 6-year-old son were also inside the home.

Bucklew abducted his ex-girlfriend and raped her before driving north on Interstate 55. A trooper spotted the car and apprehended Bucklew after a gunfight. Both the trooper and Bucklew were wounded.

Buckley briefly escaped from the Cape Girardeau County jail before he went to trial in 1997 but was quickly recaptured.

The Associated Press contributed to the report.

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