Death Row Inmate Russell Bucklew Told He Has No Right To 'Painless Death'

The US Supreme Court has ruled that a death row inmate will still be killed using the lethal injection despite demanding to be gassed as he has no right to a 'painless death'.

Russell Bucklew was convicted of first degree murder, first degree burglary, kidnap and rape in 1996.

The most recent mugshot of Bucklew. Credit: Missouri Department of Corrections
The most recent mugshot of Bucklew. Credit: Missouri Department of Corrections

The 50-year-old murderer claimed that gassing him would be the best method because blood-filled tumours in his neck could burst if the injection method is used.

According to the BBC, he argued that the state's preferred method amounts to legally banned 'cruel and unusual punishment'.

The court's five justices rejected his efforts to convince them, with Justice Neil Gorsuch saying: "Today we bring this case to a close at last because we agree with the courts below that Mr Bucklew's claim isn't supported by either the law or the evidence.

A mugshot of Bucklew in 2010. Credit: Missouri Department of Corrections
A mugshot of Bucklew in 2010. Credit: Missouri Department of Corrections

"The eighth amendment (to the US constitution) forbids 'cruel and unusual' methods of capital punishment but does not guarantee a prisoner a painless death.

"As originally understood, the eighth amendment tolerated methods of execution, like hanging, that involved a significant risk of pain, while forbidding as cruel only those methods that intensified the death sentence by 'super adding' terror, pain or disgrace."

Chris Nuelle, a spokesman for the Missouri Attorney General's Office, said in a statement that Monday's ruling put the state and Bucklew's victims 'one step closer to justice'.

Most up to date side profile of Bucklew in 2018. Credit: Missouri Department of Corrections
Most up to date side profile of Bucklew in 2018. Credit: Missouri Department of Corrections

Bucklew was convicted of killing Michael Sanders - a man who was living with his ex-girlfriend.

The Sun reported that after entering the trailer where the two were living with their children, Bucklew fatally shot Sanders and raped his former partner.

He also shot at Sanders' six-year-old son before kidnapping his ex-girlfriend and wounding a police officer before he was arrested.

Russell Bucklew murdered his ex-partner's new boyfriend. Credit: Missouri Department of Corrections
Russell Bucklew murdered his ex-partner's new boyfriend. Credit: Missouri Department of Corrections

Last year, the Supreme Court granted Bucklew a stay of execution just hours before he was scheduled to die and back in 2014, his execution was stopped within an hour of when the killing was due to take place.

According to CBS, Bucklew suffers from cavernous hemangioma, which causes weakened and malformed blood vessels or tumours in his head and throat and on his lip.

The appeal in 2018 stated that those 'highly sensitive tumours easily rupture and bleed', adding: "As he struggles to breathe through the execution procedure, Bucklew's throat tumour will likely rupture. This would cause him to choke on his own blood.

"Bucklew's execution will very likely be gruesome and painful far beyond the pain inherent in the process of an ordinary lethal injection execution," the court document said.

Featured Image Credit: Missouri Department of Corrections

Rebecca Shepherd

Rebecca Shepherd is a Journalist at LADbible. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a First Class BA in Journalism. Becky previously worked as Chief Reporter at Cavendish Press, supplying news and feature stories to national newspapers and women's magazines.

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