Execution Date Set for Roderick Nunley - Catholics Express Opposition

Life Issues - Respect for LifeOn October 20, the state of Missouri is scheduled to carry out the execution of Roderick Nunley for the murder of Ann Harrison in 1989. If Mr. Nunley is executed he will be the 68th person executed in Missouri since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.

Catholic teaching opposes the use of the death penalty because it disregards the sanctity of life and promotes revenge as a principle of justice. In his 1999 address in St. Louis, Pope John Paul II called for a consensus to “end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary.”

It has been the tradition of the Catholic Bishops of Missouri to join with other religious leaders to submit a clemency application to the Governor of Missouri for any individual with an execution date. This petition voices concerns about the case and asks the governor to grant mercy to the individual.

As Catholic citizens you too can add your voice with the bishops and call on Governor Nixon to grant mercy to Roderick Nunley and stop his execution.

PLEASE EMAIL constitservices@mo.gov OR CALL 573-751-3222.

Issues to raise in your message:

  • Mr. Nunley pled guilty, thereby taking responsibility for his actions and was willing to accept a sentence of life without parole for his part in the murder. However, the prosecutor did not agree to a plea agreement in this case as he had done in other murder cases with more heinous circumstances. Mr. Nunley was sentenced to death by a judge, without the benefit of a jury trial.
  • The death penalty disregards the sanctity and dignity of human life. The common good of the State would be better served if the cycle of violence of executions be broken and a commutation be granted.

On Tuesday, October 19, vigils and prayer services will be held in at least 11 cities across the state. At these services, Missourians will remember victims’ of violent crime including Ann Harrison and her family, as well as families with loved ones on death row, including Roderick Nunley’s family and children. The MCC encourages Catholics to participate in an event near your location. More information about the vigils can be found in a PDF on the Missouri Catholic Conference website.