The Missourians were astounded by the heinous, horrific murders. Michael Tisius and Tracie Bulington went into a county jail on June 22, 2000, just after midnight, with the goal of forcibly releasing a friend who was being held there. During the attempt, Mr. Tisius, a 19-year-old man with a gun, shot two guards, killed them, and then ran away. In July 2010, after several hours of deliberation, the jury decided on the death penalty for Mr. Tisius after being asked to punish him for his actions.
The jury is currently under examination, which may raise questions about the proceedings given that Mr. Tisius’ execution is scheduled for Tuesday. Six jury members, including two alternates, have stated in sworn documents attached to a clemency petition that they would be in favor of it or would not object if the governor of Missouri intervened and changed the verdict from death to life in prison. According to experts, it is unusual to have this many jurors formally taking a position in a case involving the death penalty.
When approached lately by Mr. Tisius’s legal counsel, another juror admitted that he could not read in English, which is a condition for jury duty in Missouri courts. A federal judge had last week ordered that the execution be postponed while the allegation of illiteracy was looked into, but an appeals court reversed that order on Friday. Jurors described in statements acquired from Mr. Tisius’ defense team why they have altered their opinions since the punishment 13 years ago in a 56-page petition filed to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson.
The jury members stated that they continued to be convinced of his guilt and thought he should never be allowed to leave prison. However, they discussed fresh information they gleaned from Mr. Tisius’ legal team as well as what they recalled from The trial covered Mr. Tisius’ traumatic childhood past, which includes abuse and neglect, his mental disabilities, and his excellent behavior in prison following his conviction. One jury stated in an affidavit, “I think that people can change and should be given second chances.
Another jury member stated, “At this time, based on what I have learned since the trial, I would not object if Mr. Tisius’ sentence was reduced to life without parole.” The fact that Mr. Tisius had slain multiple victims, according to Mr. Smith, was a critical information to consider during deliberations. According to Mr. Smith’s logic, Mr. Tisius had a chance to halt before shooting the second jail staff, making the death penalty an appropriate punishment.
But now he said that he now knows—based on what he was most recently informed by Mr. Tisius’ legal team—that the medical professionals who had examined him came to the conclusion that he had mental flaws that might have affected his ability to make decisions. And Mr. Smith is aware of scientific studies demonstrating that the frontal lobe of the brain is not fully matured until adolescence. According to Mr. Smith, 49, who still believes in the death sentence in some circumstances, Mr. Tisius should spend the rest of his days behind bars.
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