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Missouri is scheduled to put to death a convicted murderer this week, after a three-year lull in executions. Opponents of the death penalty are holding vigils statewide to try to get the governor to either delay the execution or commute the sentence altogether. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore reports.
Dennis Skillicorn is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Wednesday. He was found guilty of taking part in the fatal shooting of Richard Drummond in 1994.
Donna Walmsley of Springfield is against Skillicorn’s execution, and the death penalty in general. As part of Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty, she’s helping to organize a vigil, which will take place Tuesday night at 7 at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Springfield.
Walsmsley and others say Skillicorn is an example of someone who has changed after being incarcerated, and who is now working for good causes.
She says he has worked in the prison hospice system, and has developed a system for prisoners not to become repeat offenders.
She says he's also edited a journal called "Compassion," which provides stories of inmates. The proceeds go toward victims’ families.
However, death penalty supporters say that's how the system works, and that Skillicorn’s good deeds since his incarceration don’t erase the crime he committed.
Mary Gulledge of Kansas City is part of Parents Against Murdered Children. Her son, Kyle, was killed in 1997. In general, she says she supports the death penalty, especially in cases of child murderers and serial killers.
She says the death is keeping violence off the street.
Gulledge says that while she won’t feel sadness if Skillicorn is put to death on Wednesday, she also doesn’t necessarily believe he should be put to death.
She says she is aware of the good he has done while in prison, and that she's not sure he knew his victim was going to die.
Governor Jay Nixon’s office said the governor is considering Skillicorn’s request for clemency, and that he will give it a full and fair review before coming to a decision.
For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.