U.S.

He’s on Death Row for Murders. Prison Workers Say He Should Be Spared.

Among those asking Missouri’s governor to spare the life of Brian Dorsey, who was convicted of two murders and is set to be executed on Tuesday, were Roman Catholic bishops, law professors and national mental health groups.

There was also a less expected cohort seeking clemency: more than 70 current and former prison workers who got to know Mr. Dorsey behind bars.

That level of public support from correctional workers is rare in death penalty cases, though it remains to be seen whether it persuades Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, to commute Mr. Dorsey’s sentence to life in prison.

Mr. Dorsey, 52, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the 2006 deaths of his cousin Sarah Bonnie and her husband, Ben Bonnie. His request for clemency made no claim of innocence. Instead, it argued that he had received inadequate representation from court-appointed lawyers and that he had turned his life around in prison, where he had a spotless record of behavior and worked for years as a barber for correctional employees.

“From my perspective after decades in corrections, I do not hesitate to say that executing Brian Dorsey would be a pointless cruelty,” Timothy Lancaster, a former officer at the prison where Mr. Dorsey was held, wrote in a recent column in The Kansas City Star. Mr. Lancaster described Mr. Dorsey as “an excellent barber and a kind and respectful man.”

Some members of Mr. Dorsey’s family, including some who were also related to Ms. Bonnie, supported the clemency request. Other members of Ms. Bonnie’s family issued a statement in January saying they hoped the governor would allow the execution to proceed.

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