November 22, 2022

Representatives Bush, Cleaver Urge MO Gov. Parson to Halt Execution of Kevin “KJ” Johnson

Washington, D.C.  (Nov. 22, 2022) — Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05) sent a letter to Missouri Governor Mike Parson urging him to halt the execution of Kevin “KJ” Johnson by granting clemency.  Mr. Johnson is scheduled to be executed by the state, one week from today on November 29th, for an offense that he committed when he was 19-years-old and shortly after witnessing the death of his 12-year-old brother. Furthermore, the lawmakers’ letter notes Mr. Johnson’s well-documented history of mental illness, and the significant evidence of racism and misconduct tainting his conviction.


“We urge you to correct these injustices using every tool available, including the power to grant clemency,” wrote the Missouri lawmakers. “Mr. Johnson’s cruel execution will not solve any of the systemic problems facing Missourians and people all across America, including the scourge of gun violence. It will simply destroy yet another family and community while using the concepts of fairness and justice as a cynical pretext. We must dedicate ourselves to the actual fundamental principles of liberty and justice that animate our laws and our governance. We can collectively save the lives of people all across America. You have it in your power to save a life by granting clemency. We urge you to use it.”


A copy of this letter can be found HERE.


Representatives Bush and Cleaver wrote a similar letter to Gov. Parson in October 2021, ahead of the state’s execution of Ernest Johnson, an intellectually disabled man. 


Since first coming to Congress, Congresswoman Bush has been a national leader in the push for clemency reform and the need to end the death penalty. In February 2021, the Congresswoman urged President Biden to use his pardon power to correct legacies of injustice in the clemency process, including a call to commute the sentences of all 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 works to transform our nation’s broken clemency system and address the growing mass incarceration crisis. She is a proud cosponsor of the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act, which would end the use of the death penalty by the federal government.