Before his execution, Michael Tisius expresses remorse for killing Missouri jail guards

Michael Tisius, 42, was executed Tuesday in Missouri for killing two Randolph County jail guards in 2000 during a failed attempt to break out an inmate. Image courtesy of Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty
Michael Tisius, 42, was executed Tuesday in Missouri for killing two Randolph County jail guards in 2000 during a failed attempt to break out an inmate. Image courtesy of Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty

June 6 (UPI) -- Michael Tisius, who was convicted of killing two jail guards in 2000, was executed Tuesday in Missouri after writing in his final statement that he was "truly sorry."

Tisius, 42, was given a lethal injection and was pronounced dead at 6:10 p.m., at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre.


In his final statement, written days before his execution, Tisius expressed remorse.

"I am holding tightly to my faith. It's all I have to take with me. I am sorry it had to come to this in this way. I wish I could have made things right while I was still here. I really did try to become a better man," Tisius wrote.

"I am sorry. And not because I am at the end. But because I truly am sorry." Tisius added, ending his statement with "I love you Truffle" and "Seacrest Out!"


Earlier Tuesday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said he would not intervene to stop the execution, saying Tisius had received a fair trial and the judicial system had made its decision.

"Having run a small county jail, I know firsthand the hard work and selflessness displayed by those who work there. It's despicable that two dedicated public servants were murdered in a failed attempt to help another criminal evade the law," the governor said in a statement. "The state of Missouri will carry out Mr. Tisius's sentences according to the Court's order and deliver justice."

Tisius was previously granted a stay by a federal district court as it looked into a juror who it argued should not have been eligible to rule on the case. The juror was allegedly incapable of reading and writing in English, making them ineligible of meeting the state's minimum requirements to serve.

The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a stay of execution on Friday, deciding the lower court did not have the jurisdiction to consider the stay, according to court documents.

The appeals court said Tisius could file another petition, but it would have to rely on new claims not presented in previous petitions.


Jurors on his original case filed a 56-page petition to Gov. Mike Parson requesting clemency, arguing that Tisius should remain in prison for life but should not be executed, according to The New York Times.

In the petition, the jurors reasoned that Tisius' upbringing, which was reportedly filled with abuse and neglect, as well as his age at the time of his crimes and a history of good behavior in prison, warrant his sentence being commuted.

Tisius was 19 when he and Tracie Bulington -- Vance's girlfriend -- attempted to break Vance out of jail. Vance, who was 27 when the crime occurred, has since admitted to manipulating Tisius.

Vance said he knew he could "manipulate him into what I wanted him to do," according to the Kansas City Star.

In a letter to Parson, the American Bar Association said that capital punishment should not be sentenced for defendants who were 21 years old or younger at the time that they committed their crimes.

"In particular, the ABA opposes the death penalty for certain categories of individuals who have unique vulnerabilities that make them less culpable than the average offender," the ABA wrote.

"Michael committed two murders when he was an immature 19-year-old whose underlying brain defects and dysfunction caused him to behave like a much younger individual."


In Tisius' application for clemency, he included a letter from Archbishop Christophe Pierre, who wrote on behalf of Pope Francis about Tisius being a "model inmate."

Tisius will be the third person executed in Missouri this year.

On Jan. 3, the state executed Amber McLaughlin, the first openly transgender person to be executed in the United States. A month later, Leonard Taylor was executed for the murder of his girlfriend and three children in 2004.

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