Missouri Executes Transgender Inmate: Missouri Executes Transgender Inmate: A transgender prisoner who stabbed, strangled, and sexually assaulted an ex-girlfriend 19 years ago was killed by lethal injection in Missouri on Tuesday.
The 49-year-old prisoner had used the name Amber McLaughlin for almost 18 months but used Scott McLaughlin in his Tuesday filings and final written statement.
The third person to be killed in Missouri since May, McLaughlin is the first openly transgender woman to be put to death in the country.
Two witnesses appeared at Tuesday’s execution at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre on behalf of Beverly Guenther, a 45-year-old Moscow Mills resident who was stabbed to death with a steak knife in November 2003 after quitting her work in Earth City.
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Annie Wedepohl, Guenther’s sister-in-law, and her husband, Al, who was Guenther’s younger brother, saw the execution. Wedepohl declared, “It wasn’t remarkable to me. It was a very thoughtful approach.
It seemed too kind to me, in my opinion.” The treatment was “short and pleasant,” according to nurse Annie Wedepohl, who compared it to watching a loved one have anesthesia for surgery.
Annie Wedepohl remarked, “I teared up a little bit because I was thinking about Bev.” I’m not sobbing because of Scott. According to state officials, McLaughlin had a spiritual guide by his side during the execution—the Rev. Lauren Bennett.
Guenther was murdered in the first degree and abandoned near the Mississippi River in St. Louis. McLaughlin was found guilty of first-degree murder, rape, and armed criminal action in 2006.
But the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the penalty. Ultimately, St. Louis County Judge Steven H. Goldman gave McLaughlin a death sentence. Only in Missouri and Indiana can a judge execute a defendant after a jury is deadlocked.
In 2016, a federal judge overturned McLaughlin’s death sentence, stating that a faulty jury form prevented the judge from knowing if the jury believed the circumstances calling for execution outweighed the mitigating ones.
However, the 8th U.S. Court of Appeals overturned that judgment five years later, thus restoring McLaughlin’s death sentence. Then, in December, McLaughlin’s legal team sent Gov.
Mike Parson a petition for mercy that emphasized McLaughlin’s abuse as a child, his brain damage, fetal alcohol syndrome, and adult suicide attempts.
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The petition stated that the jury “remain deadlocked, not agreeing that death was warranted” since none of the material was offered to them. Tuesday, Parson said the state would execute as planned and rejected the motion.
Throughout a statement following the execution, Parson said, “McLaughlin tortured Ms. Guenther in the last years of her life, but we hope her family and loved ones may finally have some peace.”
McLaughlin received a farewell supper of a cheeseburger, fries, strawberry milkshake, and peanut M&Ms at 10:48 on Tuesday. Before 6:40 p.m., witnesses were brought into the execution viewing area, and the Missouri attorney general informed authorities that McLaughlin’s death was now legal.
At 6:51 p.m., McLaughlin was pronounced dead. According to a Department of Corrections spokeswoman, the body will be burned.
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