Missouri man executed in shooting death of deputy, two others

By Doug G. Ware and Amy R. Connolly  |  Updated May 12, 2016 at 6:37 AM
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ST. LOUIS, May 11 (UPI) -- A Missouri man who shot dead a Dent County deputy sheriff and two other people was executed by lethal injection late Wednesday despite last-ditch attempts for a stay.

Earl Forrest, 66, was pronounced dead at 7:18 p.m., marking the state's first execution of the year. Forrest had been appealing to the nation's high court to stop the execution.

"Earl Forrest callously murdered three people, including a deputy sheriff, over a box of methamphetamine," Attorney General Chris Koster said. "Missouri's law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day. They need to know that we will fight just as hard for justice for them and their families."

On Wednesday, Gov. Jay Nixon refused to grant a stay of execution, and a short time later the Supreme Court responded with the same answer.

Forrest, a former drug dealer, entered a Missouri woman's home in December 2002 believing she owed him money for a mobile home and lawnmower in exchange for methamphetamine. While in the home, he shot and killed Harriett Smith and Michael Wells. A short time later, he shot and killed a sheriff's deputy, JoAnne Barnes, during a shootout at his home.

Forrest's attorneys have argued their client was suffering from a brain injury before the shootings -- a fact, they say, medical tests confirmed more than a decade ago.

In 2009, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the conviction and the death sentence.

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