Brian Dorsey: Missouri execution proceeds despite objections from dozens of correctional officers

Bonne Terre, Missouri - Brian Dorsey had received support from dozens of corrections officers in his fight for clemency, but that did not stop the state of Missouri from executing him on Tuesday.

Missouri executed Brian Dorsey (l.) on Tuesday despite pleas for clemency from correctional officers, former jurors, and members of his family.
Missouri executed Brian Dorsey (l.) on Tuesday despite pleas for clemency from correctional officers, former jurors, and members of his family.  © Collage: Missouri Department of Corrections & Screenshot/X/@MADPMO

Dorsey was declared dead at 6:11 PM on Tuesday after receiving a lethal injection at the state prison in Bonne Terre.

Missouri's Republican Governor Mike Parson turned down Dorsey's clemency request on Monday, while the Supreme Court declined to intervene in the case.

Dorsey's lawyers in their request noted that more than 70 current and former correctional officers had spoken out in support of his case, as did a former judge on the Missouri Supreme Court, five of the jurors who sentenced him to death, and members of his own family.

The 52-year-old was convicted of the 2006 murders of his cousin, Sarah Bonnie, and her husband, Ben Bonnie. Prosecutors accused him of shooting the couple with their shotgun while their 4-year-old child was at home and then stealing property to repay drug debts.

Dorsey pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in 2008. He later made several attempts at appeal, arguing that he did not receive a fair defense, as the state gave his trial attorneys flat fees of $12,000 – just a few dollars per hour of work.

Brian Dorsey receives positive testaments to his character

Attorneys argued that Dorsey's remorse and rehabilitation behind bars made execution unnecessary and unjust.

"If you ask me, if it were not for drugs, none of this would have happened," an anonymous correctional officer wrote in a petition on Dorsey's behalf. "The Mr. Dorsey I know must have been out of his mind at the time of these murders."

"Brian Dorsey is kind, gentle, hardworking, and humble," his lawyer, Kirk Henderson, said in a statement prior to the execution. "He has spent every day of the past 18 years trying to make up for the single act of violence he committed, serving the prison community as the staff barber and never getting in even the slightest trouble."

Brian Dorsey shares final words before execution

In a final statement before his killing, Dorsey wrote, "To all of the family and loved ones I share with Sarah an dot all of the surviving family and loved ones of Ben, I am truly deeply overwhelmingly sorry."

"Words cannot hold the just weight of my guilt and shame. I still love you. I never wanted to hurt anyone. I am sorry I hurt them and you."

"To all those on all side[s] of this sentence, I carry no ill will or anger, only acceptance and understanding."

Cover photo: Collage: Missouri Department of Corrections & Screenshot/X/@MADPMO

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