Monday, May 18, 2009

About Dennis Skillicorn


If you agree that Dennis should be permitted to spend the rest of his life in prison and continue his positive work, please write Steve Long, Chair, Board of Probation and Parole, 1511 Christy Drive, Jefferson City, Missouri 65101, FAX (573) 751‐ 8501 . 

For further questions, contact Jennifer Merrigan, Mr. Skillicorn’s attorney since 2006, at (816) 363‐2795.

“I plead to you sir…grant clemency not just for Dennis Skillicorn, but also for the sake of the safety and security of this community. To remove Dennis…is to remove one of the leaders of this community and could lead to this community’s collapse.” — Herb Conley, Current Chaplain, Potosi Correctional Center, Letter to Missouri Governor

The Missouri Supreme Court has set an execution date of May 20, 2009, against Dennis Skillicorn.

Dennis’ execution would be a tragedy for Potosi Correctional Center, where he has been a leader and a positive role model for other prisoners, especially those who will be released. His death sentence relies on the suppression of exculpatory evidence by the prosecutor and the trial judge.

• Dennis is deeply remorseful for his part in the

crimes leading up to the murder of Richard

Drummond. He has spent the past decade

working for restorative justice and trying to make

amends for his part in what happened.

• Dennis is the editor of Compassion Magazine, a

publication authored by men under sentence of

death and dedicated to victim outreach. It has

raised over $34,000 for scholarships for family

members of murder victims.

• Dennis created and edited Today’s Choices Affect

Tomorrow’s Dreams, a book aimed at helping

troubled youth make good choices and change

their lives. It consists of first‐hand accounts by

men under sentence of death about the

consequences of their poor decisions. The books

are provided for free to juvenile detention

centers across the country. Dennis has been

asked to do a second book which he is currently

compiling. It will teach young offenders life skills

they need to avoid further criminal behavior.

• Dennis was a founder of 4‐H LIFE at Potosi

Correctional Center. The family‐strengthening

program fosters positive interaction between

children and their incarcerated parents, teaching

the children leadership skills and good decisionmaking

to help them avoid the path of their

incarcerated parents. The program includes

classes for inmates on effective parenting and

communication skills and conflict resolution.

Through 4‐H Life, Dennis has raised funds for

organizations working with children. The

program began as Dennis’s idea and has now

been instituted in two other prisons in Missouri.

• Dennis is vice‐chair (and immediate past chair) of

the Hospice program at Potosi Correctional

Center. Hospice helps prison nursing staff by

providing around‐the‐clock care to chronically ill

and dying prisoners at Potosi. It gives offenders a

way to break away from the norms of prison

culture and demonstrate the importance of

respect and compassion to all inmates.

• Dennis ministers to thousands of prisoners in

Missouri and Illinois through Set Free Ministries.

Since Dennis joined the Ministry in 1996, it has

grown from an office of three to twenty at Potosi

Correctional Center. A second office has opened

in Missouri’s Charleston facility.

• Dennis is innocent of first‐degree murder. He did

not kill Mr. Drummond, nor did he know that

Allen Nicklasson would kill Mr. Drummond. Codefendant

Nicklasson has at all times before and

after his arrest taken full responsibility for killing

Mr. Drummond. Approximately one‐half hour

after the murder, Mr. Nicklasson told associates

that he alone had killed Mr. Drummond. He told

FBI agents at the time of his arrest that he

marched Mr. Drummond into the woods while

Dennis stayed behind in the car, and that Dennis

had no idea that Mr. Nicklasson was going to

shoot Mr. Drummond. To this day, Mr.

Nicklasson has remained consistent with this

account and has always taken full responsibility

for the murder.

• The jury that convicted Dennis and sentenced

him to die was never allowed to hear from Mr.

Nicklasson. This knowledge was crucial to the

jury’s ability to make a fair, reliable, and fully

informed decision. The jury foreman himself has

acknowledged that he would not have voted for

death had he heard this information. Because

the state denied them that information, over

defense objection, his sentence of death is

unconstitutional and above all unreliable.

Our site is down!

Friends, our regular website is currently down (5/18/09).  We hope it will be up any moment now.  For current updates, call (314) 397-6691.

For now, there are two important announcements about the impending execution of Dennis Skillicorn .  

Ask Governor Nixon for Clemency!

Please contact Governor Nixon and ask that he commute Dennis' sentence to life imprisonment. Dennis' attorneys have asked that we not express broad opposition to the death penalty, but focus on the facts of Dennis case - see links below for more information. If possible, please fax Governor Nixon as we believe this is the method of communications that will be best noticed. We've been encouraged that Governor Nixon is paying attention to these requests and that numbers matter, so please take action and encourage your friends and family to do the same. 

Fax: (573) 751-1495 
Phone: (573) 751-3222 

Please also contact the Board of Probations and Parole: 
Fax: (573) 751 - 8501 
Phone: (573) 751-8488 

See video testimony from prison workers and volunteers who worked with Dennis at Potosi

Vigils for clemency taking place around the state Tuesday 5/19/09:

Bonne Terre: 11:00pm-12:01am: candlelight vigil outside the Bonne Terre prison, 2727 Hwy K at Coplin Rd., near the entrance. More information: Colleen Cunningham, 314-397-6691. 

Columbia: Vigil 5:00-6:00 pm, Tuesday, Boone Co. Courthouse. More information: Jeff Stack, 573-449-4585. 

Cape Girardeau: 7:30pm St. Vincent de Paul Church. More information: Courtney 573-266-0041. 

Jefferson City: Prayer Service, 10:45 pm, St. PeterĂ•s Catholic Church; More information Rita Linhardt, 573-635-7239. 

Jefferson City: Vigil, 11:00 pm until 12:01 am, 207 W. High St. across from Supreme Court. More information: Rita Linhardt, 573-635-7239. 

Joplin: St Peter's Catholic Church 812 S Pearl Ave. Joplin, MO Vigils at 6:30 pm (following mass) as well as a 2nd vigil at the church from 11:30-12:30pm For more information, Fr. J Friedel 417-623-8643. 

Kansas City: Vigil, 5-6 pm, J.C. Nichols Fountain in the Plaza. More information: Donnie Morehouse, 816-756-3113 x 234. 

Savannah: Vigil, 7:00 P.M. LaVerna Heights Building, St. Francis Chapel. More information: Sr. Christine Martin, 816-324-3179. 

Springfield: Vigil 7:00pm, Holy Trinity Catholic Church at 2818 E. Bennett More information: Donna 417-459-2960. 

St. Charles: Monday 5/18, 7pm St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. More information: Sr. Esther 636-248-1117. 

St. Joseph: 6:00 St Francis Xavier Church. More information: Whitney Zoubek 816-756-1858, ext. 532 at the Human Rights Office, Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. 

St. Louis: Prayer service sponsored by The Intercommunity Justice Coordinators, 7:30 at St. Francis Xavier Church. More information: Diana Oleskevich CSJA, 314-678-0317. 

St. Louis: Vigil 8:15-9:00, in front of church St. Francis Xavier Church on the corner of Grand and Lindell. Carpooling to Bonne Terre to follow. More information: Margaret Phillips, 314-322-5159. 

For last minute updates: Colleen, 314-397-6691

Monday, July 21, 2008

Execution Stayed

The execution of John Middleton, which the Missouri Supreme Court set for July 30, has recently been stayed by the Court pending the resolution of certain legal questions. More details to follow.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Execution Alert!

The following is taken from a news article in the Kansas City Star. More information will be available via MADP's website in the days to come.

John Middleton set for 7/30 execution in Missouri

A northern Missouri methamphetamine dealer is set to be the state's 1st inmate put to death since October 2005.

The Missouri Supreme Court today set a July 30 execution date for John C. Middleton, who was convicted of killing 2 people in Mercer County in 1995.

Middleton, now 48, also was convicted in a separate case of killing a 3rd person. He also received a death sentence in that case.

Prosecutors said Middleton killed the 3 to keep them from telling police about his methamphetamine operation.

Missouri has not executed an inmate since October 2005 when Marlin Gray was put to death.

Executions in the state and across the country had been put on hold while inmates raised legal questions about the constitutionality of the lethal injection method used in Missouri and most other capital punishment states.

But since April when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Kentucky's lethal injection protocol, states have once again begun carrying out death sentences.

9 men have been put to death since that ruling, and 7 other executions are scheduled to die before Middleton, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Middleton is housed at the Potosi Correctional Center in Mineral Point. He will be transported to the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, where the state's execution chamber is located.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Many Voices

While the main administrator for this blog will be Colleen Cunningham, the state coordinator for MADP, the intent is to provide a forum for all the local chapters, each of which will eventually be able to post to the blog.

In the meantime, I'm Tim Wright and I am going to be the one getting this up and running smoothly (at least that's the plan).

A New Start

This the brand new e-blog for Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty. MADP is a coalition of chapters and individuals working to end capital punishment in Missouri. This blog will hopefully be one more means of spreading our message through education and perhaps even debate.