Two Missouri Lawmakers Argue against State-Sanctioned Execution  


By Jack Sandmeyer

WASHINGTON, DC. – Congressional members Cori Bush (MO-01) and Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-05) sent a letter to Missouri Governor Mike Parson Monday pleading for a halt to the execution of Amber McLaughlin and for the elimination of the death penalty. 

McLaughlin was convicted in 2006 of first-degree murder for the rape and murder of her ex-girlfriend, 45-year-old Beverly Guenther, and sentenced to death on Jan. 3, 2023. 

Both members of Congress argue McLaughlin’s troubled childhood along with her history of mental illness warrants the state to grant clemency to the convicted and to terminate her scheduled execution.  

“Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done,” the two lawmakers stated in their letter. “The same is true for Ms. McLaughlin.”

Bush and Cleaver additionally maintain the use of state-sanctioned executions does little to bring about equity for the victims of those convicted along with their families. 

“[Executions] are not about justice; they are about who has institutional power and who doesn’t. We urge you to correct these injustices using every tool available, including the power to grant clemency,” the lawmakers wrote.

This is not the first instance of the two Congressional members’ efforts to halt a state-sanctioned execution. Attempts to prevent the ordered deaths of Kevin Johnson and Ernest Johnson were carried out in a similar manner as with McLaughlin but were ultimately overlooked and the men were executed.  

Winning her seat in Congress in November of 2020, Rep. Bush has continually maintained a strong stance against state-mandated executions and the ineffective use of current clemency reforms. 

Alongside members with similar ideologies, Bush established the Fair and Independent Experts in Clemency (FIX Clemency) Act which was intended to correct issues with current reforms and the increasing levels of incarceration. 

The Congresswoman has also been a member of the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act, whose purpose is to eliminate the existence of the death penalty by the federal government. 


About The Author

Jack is a sophomore at UC Davis majoring in Economics. Following his 4 years at Davis, he hopes to pursue a career in law with an emphasis on environmental sustainability. He plans on attending law school in southern California after he graduates.

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