Missouri executes man for killing couple on farm to steal their cows

Missouri carried out its sixth execution in six months Wednesday, putting William Rousan to death for killing a farm couple in 1993 to steal their cows.

By Frances Burns

BONNE TERRE, Mo., April 23 (UPI) -- Missouri executed a convicted killer early Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court refused a stay based on an appeal over secrecy about the drugs to be used.

William Rousan, 57, was given a lethal injection just after midnight. He was sentenced to death for killing Grace Lewis, 62, in 1993, and to life in prison for the death of her husband Charles, 67.


Missouri's execution procedure has been challenged by lawyers who argue that inmates have a right to know the suppliers of the drugs to be used to kill them. In Oklahoma, the state Supreme Court stayed two pending executions this week, ruling Monday that the condemned men are entitled to a hearing, but in Missouri executions have continued.

Rousan's execution was the sixth in six months in Missouri. The state has scheduled another execution in May.

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The execution was witnessed by relatives of Rousan's victims and members of his own family.

“My trials and transgressions have been many," Rousan said in his final statement. "But thanks be to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I have a new home in his heavenly kingdom. May forgiveness and peace be found for all in our Lord Jesus Christ. In our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Rousan, his brother Robert, and his son Brent, who was 16 at the time, went to the Lewis farm in September 1993 planning to steal some of their cows. After shooting the couple, they buried them and covered the shallow grave with manure.

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They were arrested months later after selling a VCR they had stolen from the farm to a pawn shop. Robert Rousan, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and cooperated with prosecutors, is now out of prison, while Brent is still incarcerated.

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