November 30, 2022

Congresswoman Bush Statement Following Missouri’s Execution of Kevin Johnson

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 30, 2022) — Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) released the following statement after Kevin “KJ” Johnson was executed yesterday by the state of Missouri. Mr. Johnson was convicted and sentenced to death for an offense that he committed when he was 19-years-old and shortly after witnessing the death of his 12-year-old brother. His conviction was tainted by racism and misconduct, leading a court-appointed special prosecutor to call for a stay of execution. Last week, Congresswoman Bush and Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver (MO-05) sent a letter to Missouri Governor Mike Parson urging him to halt the execution of Mr. Johnson by granting clemency. Governor Parson denied this request. The Missouri Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court also failed to halt the execution, and Missouri executed Mr. Johnson at 7:4o PM CT. The state is set to execute two more individuals in the next several months.


“Kevin Johnson was a son, a father, a grandfather, and a brother who was taken too soon by inhumane capital punishment. My heart is with everyone who loved him. Between the systemic racism tainting his conviction, Governor Mike Parson’s merciless choice to deny clemency, and the Missouri Supreme Court and United States Supreme Court’s denial of a stay of execution, KJ was consistently failed by our criminal injustice system. There is no place in a humane society for state-sanctioned violence —it’s archaic, barbaric, and cold-hearted. The death penalty destroys families and communities, and its abolition is long overdue.”


Since first coming to Congress, Congresswoman Bush has been a national leader in the push for clemency reform and death penalty abolition. In February 2021, the Congresswoman urged President Biden to use his pardon power to correct legacies of injustice in the clemency process, including by commuting the sentences of every person on federal death row. In December 2021, Congresswoman Bush, alongside Representatives Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), introduced the Fair and Independent Experts in Clemency (FIX Clemency) Act, historic legislation that would transform our nation’s broken clemency system and address the growing mass incarceration crisis. She is also a proud cosponsor of the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act, which would end the federal government’s use of the death penalty.