Judge Denies 19-Year-Old’s Request To Witness Her Father’s Execution


A federal court has denied the request of 19-year-old Corionsa “Khorry” Ramey to be present at her father’s execution on Tuesday because Missouri state law forbids anyone under the age of 21 from being present. 

In a lawsuit filed on Ramey’s behalf, the American Civil Liberties Union pleaded with a federal court to let her attend to see her father, Kevin Johnson, in his final moments alive. Johnson, now 37, has been in prison since Ramey was two for the 2005 death of William McEntee, a Kirkwood, Missouri, police officer.

“I’m heartbroken that I won’t be able to be with my dad in his last moments,” Ramey said in a statement shared by the ACLU. “My dad is the most important person in my life. He has been there for me my whole life, even though he’s been incarcerated.” 

Ramey also said that her father” had worked very hard to rehabilitate himself in prison. I pray that [Gov. Mike] Parson will give my dad clemency.”

Johnson was 19 when he committed the crime– the same age his daughter is now– attorneys noted, pointing out what they called the irony of the issue. 

“It’s ironic that Kevin was 19 years old…and they still want to move forward with this execution, but they won’t allow his daughter, who’s 19 at this time, in because she’s too young,” Johnsons’ lawyer, Shawn Nolan, said during a Friday press conference according to NBC News.

U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes said in a written ruling that Ramey failed to show “unconstitutionality,” and that it remains “in the public’s interest to allow states to enforce their laws and administer state prisons without court intervention.”

Ramey also said in a statement that she wants to see the execution to help her grieve and for her “peace of mind.” 

“I am my dad’s closest living relative, and he is mine, other than my baby son,” Ramey said. “If my dad were dying in the hospital, I would stick by his side and hold his hand, praying until his death.”

Ramey said she and her father have remained close despite his imprisonment with weekly phone calls and regular visits. She credited him with motivating her to pursue education. Ramey is now a nursing assistant and gave birth to her first child, Kiaus, in September. She says that she recently traveled to Missouri’s Potosi Correctional Center so that her son could meet her father.

“It was a beautiful but bittersweet moment to me because I realized it might be the only time my dad would get to hold [his] grandson,” she said. 

Johnson’s attorneys are also requesting a stay of execution, arguing that racial discrimination was a factor in his prosecution, conviction, and death sentence. 

The Missouri Supreme Court is set to hear that case on Monday. 

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