He was sentenced to death for the murders. Prison workers say he should be spared.

Among those asking Missouri’s governor to spare the life of Brian Dorsey, who was convicted of two murders and is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, were Roman Catholic bishopslaw professors and national mental health groups.

There was also a less expected group seeking clemency: more than 70 current and former prison staffers who had gotten to know Mr. Dorsey behind bars.

That level of public support from corrections officials is rare in death penalty cases, although it remains to be seen whether it will persuade Governor Mike Parson, a Republican, to commute Mr. Dorsey’s sentence to life in prison.

Mr. Dorsey, 52, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the 2006 deaths of his cousin Sarah Bonney and her husband Ben Bonney. His request for clemency did not claim innocence. Instead, it argued, he received inadequate representation from a court-appointed attorney and turned his life around in prison, where he maintained a clean record and worked as a barber for correctional officers for years.

“From my perspective after decades of corrections, I have no hesitation in saying that executing Brian Dorsey would be senseless cruelty,” wrote Timothy Lancaster, a former officer at the prison where Mr. Dorsey was held. a recent column in The Kansas City Star. Mr. Lancaster is Mr. He described Dorsey as “an excellent barber and a kind and respectful man.”

Some members of Mr. Dorsey’s family, including some who were also related to Ms. Bonnie, supported the clemency request. Other members of Ms. Boni’s family issued a statement in January saying they hoped the governor would allow the execution to go ahead.

“All these years of pain, we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel,” the relatives said in a statement is reported by local newspapers. “Brian will get the justice that Sarah and Ben have deserved for so long.”

Mr. Lancaster was among more than 70 current and former prison workers who vouched for Mr. Dorsey, whose lawyers released a copy of a letter the prison workers wrote to the governor but redacted most of their names, citing privacy concerns. A full list of names has been submitted to the governor’s office, the lawyers said.

The advocacy of so many corrections officers on Mr. Dorsey’s behalf is “truly remarkable,” said Robin M. Maher, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which studies the death penalty and is critical of many aspects of it. “I have never seen any other case with this kind of support from current and former prison staff,” Ms Maher said.

Mr. Dorsey’s request for clemency drew rare support, saying: “These public servants have nothing to gain, and potentially nothing to lose, by making a statement.”

Missouri has carried out 97 executions since 1976. ranking behind only Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia and Florida. Mr Parson, a former sheriff, has not blocked an execution since taking office in 2018, although he has pardoned or commuted sentences hundreds of people convicted of minor crimes.

Johnathan Shiflett, a spokesman for the governor, said Monday that Mr. Parson would meet with legal counsel to consider Mr. Dorsey’s request for clemency. Mr. Shiflett said the governor usually announces his decision in such cases at least 24 hours before an execution is scheduled.

Missouri’s attorney general, Andrew Bailey, asked the state Supreme Court to set an execution date for Mr. Dorsey last year. He noted that it was “a legal sentence that has been upheld by multiple courts” and said that his office is “dedicated to achieving justice for the victims of heinous crimes.”

Executions in the United States have become less often in the last few decades in support of the death penalty reduced. Last year, 24 people were executed, compared to 98 executed in 1998.

Missouri officials say Mr. Dorsey had problems with drug dealers and asked his cousin and her husband for help in December 2006. part of the state. After the couple went to bed that night, authorities say, Mr. Dorsey took out a shotgun and fatally shot each of them. Prosecutors also said Mr. Dorsey sexually assaulted Ms. Bonnie, although he was never charged with that offense. The accusation of sexual assault was presented during the sentencing of Mr. to Dorsey; Mr. Dorsey’s lawyers said he had no recollection of the sexual assault.

Mr. Dorsey, whose current lawyers say he was in a drug-induced psychosis at the time of the murders, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder. He was later sentenced to death.

Death notices and news published at the time said the Bonnie family had moved to the New Bloomfield area from Iowa about a year before the couple was killed. Mr. Bonnie, 28, was an auto mechanic who enjoyed fishing, hunting and camping. Ms. Bonnie, 25, was an emergency medical technician who worked in local government, belonged to the Methodist church and rode motorcycles. The couple had a four-year-old daughter who was in the house, but was not physically injured.

Mr. Dorsey asked state and federal courts, including the US Supreme Court, to intervene before the scheduled execution.

In his plea to the governor for clemency, Mr. Dorsey claimed he received bad advice from trial lawyers who received flat fees to handle his case and did little to investigate potential mitigating factors or plea deals. Mr. Dorsey pleaded guilty without any sentencing agreement with prosecutors. One of the lawyers representing Mr. Dorsey at that stage of his case declined to comment, and efforts to reach another were not immediately successful.

The director of Missouri’s public defender system, Mary Fox, supported Mr. Dorsey’s request for clemency and said her office no longer pays lawyers a flat fee in death penalty cases. Critics say flat fees can give lawyers an incentive to settle a case quickly, rather than spending extra time that could lead to a more favorable outcome for the accused.

Michael Wolff, a former Missouri Supreme Court justice who was among the majority on that court to uphold Mr. Dorsey’s death sentence, also expressed concern about the performance of Mr. Dorsey’s court-appointed attorney. In the letter of Mr. To the parsonMr. Wolff wrote that Mr. Dorsey’s case was one of the “rare cases in which those of us who pass judgment on a man on death row have erred.”

Megan Crane, Mr. Dorsey’s lawyer, said her client was moved to solitary confinement after his execution date was set, ending his time as a prison barber. As the execution approached, Ms. Crane said, Mr. Dorsey tried to manage his expectations about the possibility of court or governor intervention.

“He took full responsibility from day one,” Ms. Crane said. “And the horror of the fact that he was able to do this — I think that’s still his focus in this last week.”

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