Monday, May 18, 2009

About Dennis Skillicorn

EXECUTIONS TO RESUME AFTER FOUR YEARS?

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.

2 comments:

Patrick said...

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Patrick said...

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