A US federal district judge Friday denied 19-year-old Corionsa “Khorry” Ramey’s emergency petition to attend her father’s execution. US District Judge for the Western District of Missouri Brian Wimes denied Ramey’s petition, stating the denial does not violate Ramey’s constitutional rights.
In his order denying the petition, Wimes wrote that, though the Court recognized the “irreparable” emotional damages Ramey faces, the law does not violate her constitutional rights. Corene Kendrick, ACLU National Prison Project deputy director and Ramey’s attorney, spoke of feeling frustrated and disappointed. Kendrick stated that if “19 is not old enough to witness an execution, then the state should spare Mr. Johnson’s life for what he did when he was 19.”
Ramey’s father, Kevin Johnson, was convicted of murdering police officer William McEntee when he was 19. Ramey filed a complaint challenging the state’s law preventing individuals under 21 from attending an execution. In her complaint, Ramey argued the age limit is arbitrary and a violation of her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. In a statement, Ramey called her father the “most important person in her life,” despite being incarcerated for her entire life.
The Missouri Supreme Court will hear two motions to stay Johnson’s execution on Monday, relating to evidence of racial bias throughout his prosecution. The motions to stay are being brought by both Johnson’s attorneys and the St. Louis prosecutor’s office.