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Brian Dorsey Execution Scheduled For Apr 9/24

Brian Dorsey
Brian Dorsey

Brian Dorsey is scheduled to be executed by the State of Missouri for the murder of his cousin and her husband

According to court documents Brian Dorsey would call his cousin Sarah Bonnie and told her that drug dealers were at his door demanding that he paid him. Dorsey told her he was scared they would break into the home and hurt him

Brian Dorsey would go to the home of Sarah Bonnie an her husband Ben Bonnie. Soon after arriving at the Bonnie home Dorsey would shoot and kill both Sarah and Ben. The couples young child was present at the time of the shooting but was not harmed

Brian Dorsey would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death

Brian Dorsey and his lawyers were attempting to get his execution postponed by claiming his original attorneys at the double murder trial were not paid enough so they did not put forth any effort

Update – Brian Dorsey was executed by lethal injection

Brian Dorsey News

A man convicted of murdering his cousin and her husband after they brought him to safety when he told them that drug dealers were at his door will be executed Tuesday, Missouri’s governor said.

Brian Dorsey, 51, requested clemency, but Gov. Mike Parson affirmed the state Supreme Court-ordered sanction Monday, with his office saying in a statement that it is “an appropriate and legal sentence for his heinous crimes.”

On Dec. 23, 2006, Brian Dorsey grabbed his cousin’s shotgun and fatally shot her and her husband in their Callaway County residence. Sarah Bonnie and Ben Bonnie drove him to the home for the night after he asked for her help, saying drug dealers were at his door demanding he cover debts, according to the case record.

The couple’s 4-year-old daughter was in the home, but she was not physically harmed, the record states.

“Brian Dorsey punished his loving family for helping him in a time of need,” Parson said in the statement Monday.

He continued: “The pain Dorsey brought to others can never be rectified, but carrying out Dorsey’s sentence according to Missouri law and the Court’s order will deliver justice and provide closure.”

Dorsey pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, and a jury took up the matter of sentencing in 2008.

He later argued that the state’s flat fee payment to his otherwise private lawyers resulted in an insufficient defense. His defense also included the assertion that he was experiencing drug-induced psychosis the night of the slayings.

A clinical psychologist for the defense recited a history for Dorsey that included mental health issues, suicide attempts and drug addiction, according to the Missouri Supreme Court’s affirmation of his sentence in March.

But that jury weighing his fate found seven aggravating factors that led it to endorse execution for Dorsey, according to the Supreme Court.

Dorsey challenged his government-ordered fate multiple times, including by filing two writ of habeas corpus challenges with the Missouri Supreme Court, which has denied all his appeals. He also mounted challenges in federal court, but the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear them.

In December, the state Supreme Court set an execution date of April 9. The state is expected to use lethal injection.

Dorsey’s plight found unusual support in January, when dozens of Missouri Corrections Department employees urged Parson to grant clemency to Dorsey, who has behind bars for 17 years.

Troy Steele, the former warden at Potosi Correctional Center, where Dorsey has been housed, described him in a review as a “model inmate” and said he was allowed to work as a barber — even cutting the warden’s own hair.

The officers were joined by some family members, including cousin Jenni Gerhauser, in opposing his execution.

“Generally, we believe in the use of capital punishment,” corrections officers said in a letter to the governor. “But we are in agreement that the death penalty is not the appropriate punishment for Brian Dorsey.”

The Missouri Corrections Officers Association and the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Execution is scheduled for 6 p.m. local time Tuesday, according to NBC affiliate KOMU of Columbia.

Brian Dorsey Execution

Missouri death row inmate Brian Dorsey was executed on Tuesday evening after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene, officials confirmed.

Dorsey was convicted of murdering his cousin and her husband nearly 20 years ago.

The state carried out Dorsey’s death sentence by lethal injection at Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri’s Department of Corrections said in a statement. He was pronounced dead at 6:11 p.m. local time.

The execution proceeded on Tuesday evening after the high court rejected two separate bids to intervene. There were no noted dissents. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, confirmed Monday that the state would move forward with Dorsey’s death sentence, rejecting a separate request for clemency.

More than 70 current and former corrections officers had urged Parson to commute Dorsey’s sentence, arguing he had been rehabilitated, and his lawyers said that Dorsey was in a drug-induced psychosis when he committed the killings in 2006.

Dorsey, 52, was the first inmate in Missouri to be executed this year after four were put to death in 2023.

Kirk Henderson, Dorsey’s attorney, criticized the state for moving forward with the execution.

“If anyone deserves mercy, surely it is Brian, who has been fully rehabilitated and whose death sentence was so flawed that five of his jurors believe he should not be executed,” Henderson said in a statement. “Executing Brian Dorsey is a pointless cruelty, an exercise of the state’s power that serves no legitimate penological purpose.”

Dorsey pleaded guilty to shooting and killing his cousin, Sarah Bonnie, and her husband, Ben Bonnie, at their home on Dec. 23, 2006. According to court filings, Dorsey had called his cousin for money to give to two drug dealers who were at his apartment, and the three returned to the Bonnies’ home later that night after they agreed to help him.

After Sarah and Ben Bonnie, and their daughter, went to bed, Dorsey grabbed a shotgun and shot the couple, after which prosecutors accused Dorsey of sexually assaulting his cousin. He then stole several items from the Bonnies’ home, including jewelry and their car, and attempted to sell them to repay his drug debt, state officials said.

The bodies were discovered after Sarah Bonnie’s parents went to the home after the couple was missing from a family gathering on Christmas Eve. When they went into the house, they found the couple’s 4-year-old daughter sitting on the couch, who told her grandparents her mother wouldn’t wake up.

Dorsey turned himself in to the police three days after the killings and confessed to the murders. He was then sentenced to death.

After failed appeals of his death sentence, the Missouri Supreme Court issued an execution warrant in December. Dorsey sought further relief, arguing his conviction and sentence violated the Sixth Amendment, though his efforts were unsuccessful.

In one request for the Supreme Court’s intervention, Dorsey’s attorneys argued that the lawyers appointed by the Missouri Public Defender Office to represent him were paid a flat fee of $12,000 apiece, which presented a conflict of interest that pitted their personal finance interests directly against Dorsey’s right to effective assistance of counsel.

Dorsey’s current attorneys told the Supreme Court in a filing that his appointed lawyers provided “grossly deficient representation” in a capital case and pressured their client to plead guilty with no agreement that prosecutors wouldn’t pursue the death penalty.

They argued in a second request that Dorsey has achieved “remarkable redemption and rehabilitation” in his more than 17 years on death row, and the “goals of capital punishment will not be furthered by” his execution.

Dorsey’s attorneys also raised concerns about Missouri’s execution protocol, which says nothing about the use of any pain relief. They describe their client in court filings as obese, diabetic and a former user of intravenous drugs, all of which could make it difficult to establish IV lines for the lethal injection and may lead Missouri Department of Corrections employees to use “cut downs.”

Under the procedure, large incisions are made in the arms, legs or other areas of the body, and tissue is pulled away from the vein. A federal lawsuit filed on Dorsey’s behalf in Missouri district court alleged that no anesthetic is given during “cut downs,” and the procedure occurs before an inmate meets with their spiritual adviser for the last time, which Dorsey plans to do.

His attorneys argued that the “significant pain and anguish” Dorsey would be in when he meets his spiritual adviser would hinder his ability to freely exercise his religion.

A settlement was reached Saturday, under which the state would take steps to limit the risk of extreme pain for Dorsey, according to the Associated Press.

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