Missouri executes man accused of killing 3 people - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Missouri executes man accused of killing 3 people

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Missouri Department of Corrections, File). FILE - In this 2007 file photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections is John Middleton. (AP Photo/Missouri Department of Corrections, File). FILE - In this 2007 file photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections is John Middleton.
  • NationalMore>>

  • Walsh campaign: Senator won't withdraw from race

    Walsh campaign: Senator won't withdraw from race

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:16 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:16:39 GMT
    Sen. John Walsh said his unattributed use of others' work in his master's thesis was not plagiarism but "a few citations that were unintentionally left out of a term paper" that he blamed in part on...More >>
    Sen. John Walsh remained steadfast Thursday amid allegations he plagiarized a research project required for a master's degree, winning fresh backing from fellow Democrats in Montana and the governor who appointed him...More >>
  • Court throws out Chiquita terror payment claims

    Court throws out Chiquita terror payment claims

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:15:44 GMT
    A divided federal appeals court has thrown out claims against produce giant Chiquita Brands International made by thousands of Colombians killed during years of bloody civil war.More >>
    A divided federal appeals court on Thursday threw out claims potentially worth billions of dollars against produce giant Chiquita Brands International made by relatives of thousands of Colombians killed during years of...More >>
  • Ohio State marching band chief fired after probe

    Ohio State marching band chief fired after probe

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:15:23 GMT
    Ohio State University has fired the director of its celebrated marching band amid allegations he knew about and ignored "serious cultural issues" including sexual harassment.More >>
    Ohio State University fired the director of its celebrated marching band on Thursday amid allegations he knew about and ignored "serious cultural issues," some involving rituals where students were pressured to march in...More >>
By JIM SALTER
Associated Press

BONNE TERRE, Mo. (AP) - A former methamphetamine dealer was executed Wednesday for killing three people in remote northern Missouri out of fear that they would report his drug activity to police.

John Middleton, 54, died Wednesday night from an injection of pentobarbital, the sixth execution in Missouri this year. Only Florida and Texas, with seven each, have performed more executions.

Middleton was convicted of killing Randy "Happy" Hamilton and Stacey Hodge in early June 1995, then Alfred Pinegar several days later. He maintained to the end that someone else was responsible for the slayings.

"You are killing an innocent man," Middleton said in his final statement.

State officials, including Gov. Jay Nixon, disagreed.

"Tonight has brought a conclusion to a case that illustrates how methamphetamine can have such a monstrous impact on so many lives," Nixon said in a statement.

Michael Black, Pinegar's uncle, questioned why it took so long for the execution to occur.

"Nineteen years seems like a long time to wait for justice," he said following the execution.

Middleton was a small-time meth dealer in sparsely populated northern Missouri in the mid-1990s. After several drug suspects were arrested on June 10, 1995, he allegedly told a friend: "The snitches around here are going to start going down."

A day later, according to court records, Middleton and his girlfriend met Hamilton and Hodge on a gravel road. Prosecutors said Middleton shot and killed them both and hid the bodies in the trunk of Hamilton's car.

Pinegar, another meth dealer according to police, was shot in the face on June 23, 1995. His body was found in a field near Bethany.

Acquaintances say Middleton told them he killed all three. Police also had eyewitness accounts of Middleton purchasing ammunition in the hours before Pinegar's death. Middleton was convicted in 1997.

Middleton's girlfriend, Maggie Hodges, is serving life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in all three deaths.

In February, a man whose name has not been disclosed because he fears retribution signed an affidavit saying that two rival meth dealers drove him to a rural area soon after Pinegar's death and accused him of being a snitch. He said the men showed him Pinegar's body, saying: "There's already been three people killed. You want to be number four?"

The witness said the two dealers then beat him unconscious with a baseball bat and raped his girlfriend.

Neither police nor the courts were swayed by the new witness. Harrison County Sheriff Josh Eckerson agreed to take a new look at the case but said his investigation found no evidence to back up the claims. He is convinced that Middleton was the real killer. Several court appeals claiming innocence were turned away.

Concerns about whether Middleton was mentally fit for execution, though, spurred a long delay in the execution, which occurred 19 hours after it was originally scheduled, at 12:01 a.m.

A federal judge granted a stay of execution late Tuesday, citing a need for a hearing to determine if Middleton was mentally ill. Courts have held it is unconstitutional to execute the mentally ill.

A federal appeals court overturned the stay later Wednesday and neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor the Missouri Supreme Court would halt the execution.

Missouri has executed one man each month since November, with the exception of May, when the U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution of Russell Bucklew. Bucklew suffers from a rare congenital condition that causes weakened and malformed blood vessels as well as tumors in his nose and throat. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals plans a hearing on Sept. 9 to determine if lethal injection could cause him to suffer because of his medical condition.

Another execution is scheduled for Aug. 6, when Michael Shane Worthington is scheduled to be put to death for the rape and killing of a suburban St. Louis neighbor in 1995.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by WorldNow

News Channel 25 KXXV-TV
P.O. Box 2522
Waco, TX 76702

Phone Numbers:
Main: 254-754-2525
Tip Line: 254-757-2525

Links
Contact Us
KXXV Employment Opportunites
FCC Filings
Advertise on KXXV

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KXXV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.