Death Row Decision: Missouri Governor’s Denial of Clemency Amid Unprecedented Guard Backing Sparks Debate!

The governor of Missouri, Mike Parson, announced on Monday that, barring court intervention, he will not commute the death sentence of Brian Dorsey, who pleaded guilty to the 2006 murders of Ben and Sarah Bonnie and is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday.

Republican former sheriff Mr. Parson stated, “The suffering Dorsey caused others is irreparable, but carrying out Dorsey’s sentence in accordance with Missouri law and the court’s order will provide closure and justice.”

Mr. Dorsey’s clemency petition was out of the ordinary, as over seventy current and former prison employees who had become acquainted with him during his incarceration petitioned the governor for a commute of his sentence. They described Mr. Dorsey, 52, as a deferential and compliant inmate who had earned the respect of the officers and ultimately worked as a barber for prison staff.

Former Kansas City Star columnist Timothy Lancaster stated, “The very term ‘corrections’ implies that we want incarcerated individuals to change their ways.” Lancaster was a former officer at the facility where Mr. Dorsey was detained. “Putting Dorsey to death would be an insult to the diligent effort he has invested in achieving that goal.”

Tuesday is the scheduled day of execution for Mr. Dorsey. Prior to the scheduled execution, he has petitioned state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, to intervene.

Mr. Dorsey’s attorney, Megan Crane, said in a statement, “Brian’s unprecedented support and irrefutable evidence of redemption are precisely the circumstances for which clemency is intended.” The consensus regarding Brian’s execution in light of this veracity is catastrophic.

Clemency was requested by some members of Mr. Dorsey’s family, including some who were also related to Ms. Bonnie. In January, additional relatives of Ms. Bonnie released a statement expressing their desire for the governor to grant permission for the execution to continue.

“After years of anguish and distress, we have come to the realization that there is hope,” the relatives wrote in the statement that was picked up by regional news organizations. “Brian will receive the long-overdue justice that Sarah and Ben have been entitled to.”

Since 1976, Missouri has been the state with the fewest executions (97), trailing only Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Florida. Since assuming office in 2018, Mr. Parson has not obstructed an execution; however, he has commuted the sentences of hundreds of individuals convicted of lesser offenses or granted pardons.

Mr. Dorsey, according to Missouri authorities, was in conflict with drug traffickers in December 2006 and asked his cousin and her spouse for assistance. The Bonnies extended an invitation to Mr. Dorsey to spend the night at their residence in the central region of Missouri, close to New Bloomfield. Authorities say that after the couple went to bed that night, Mr. Dorsey fatally fired each of them with a shotgun.

Additionally, prosecutors asserted that Mr. Dorsey assaulted Ms. Bonnie sexually, despite the fact that he was never charged with that offense. The allegation of sexual assault was made public during the sentencing of Mr. Dorsey; however, his attorneys maintain that he has no recollection of the incident.

David Dorsey, who pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, was in a drug-induced psychosis at the time of the murders, according to his current attorneys. He received a death sentence thereafter.

At the time of the murders, death notices and news articles described Mr. Bonnie, 28, as an auto mechanic who enjoyed camping, hunting, and fishing. Ms. Bonnie, age 25, was a motorcycle rider and emergency medical technician with prior experience in local government. Additionally, she was a member of the Methodist Church. A 4-year-old daughter of the couple was present in the residence but was not injured physically.

Mr. Dorsey contended in his petition for clemency to the governor that he had been misled by court-appointed attorneys who accepted a fixed charge for their services and did little to investigate potential mitigating circumstances or plea bargains.

Regarding his sentencing, Mr. Dorsey pleaded guilty without reaching a consensus with the prosecution. A spokesperson for the attorneys who advised Mr. Dorsey at that juncture of his case declined to provide an update, and the other did not reply to a message requesting a comment.


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