Missouri executes man convicted of murder over child support

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 14, 2015 11:47 PM

By Carey Gillam

(Reuters) - Missouri on Tuesday executed a man convicted of attacking his former wife over child support payments and killing her friend, a prison spokesman said.

Andre Cole, 52, was killed by lethal injection and pronounced dead at 10:24 p.m. at the state's death chamber in Bonne Terre, Missouri. He became the 12th inmate executed in the U.S. and the third in Missouri in 2015.

Cole did not provide a final written statement, prison officials said.

Cole was divorced from his wife, Terri, in 1995. He fell $3,000 behind in child support for the couple's two children and his wages were ordered garnished, court records show.

After the first garnishment in August 1998, Cole broke into his ex-wife's home and stabbed her and a male friend repeatedly. The ex-wife survived but her friend did not. Cole was convicted of first-degree murder and first-degree assault as well as armed criminal action and first-degree burglary, court records state.

Cole's attorneys argued that his death sentence was unfair because he was an African-American condemned to death by an all-white jury. They also argued that he suffered from psychosis, including hallucinations that affected his ability to understand why he was facing execution.

In addition, Cole was one of several Missouri death row inmates who have alleged the state's lethal injection protocol violates a constitutional prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday evening denied a request for a stay of execution.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; editing by Andrew Hay)