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Mo. man executed for killing his cousin and her husband in 2006

More than 70 current and former prison officials, including chaplains, wardens and COs, had written a letter asking the governor to grant Brian Dorsey clemency

Missouri Execution

A photo released by the Federal Public Defender, shows inmate Brian Dorsey at the Potosi Correctional Center, Washington County, Missouri. Dorsey is scheduled to be executed Tuesday, April 9, 2024, for killing two people in 2006. (Jeremy Weis, Federal Public Defender via AP)

Jeremy Weis/AP

By Brian Niemietz
New York Daily News

BONNE TERRE, Mo. — The State of Missouri on Tuesday executed convicted double-murderer Brian Dorsey, despite objections by dozens of corrections officers and at least one member of the victims’ family.

Republican Gov. Mike Parson rejected Dorsey’s clemency request Monday and the Supreme Court decided against hearing his appeal on Tuesday. The 52-year-old inmate was executed by lethal injection, with his time of death recorded as 6:11 p.m. CT .

More than 70 current and former prison officials, including chaplains, wardens and corrections officers, who came to know Dorsey during his time at Missouri’s Potosi Correctional Center supported clemency. They felt the inmate was no longer the drug-addled man who killed his cousin and her husband in 2006.

“Every one of us believe that Brian is a good guy, someone who has stayed out of trouble, never gotten himself into any situations, and been respectful of us and of his fellow inmates,” the prison officials wrote in a letter to Gov. Parson, urging him to commute Dorsey’s death sentence.

But the governor wasn’t swayed into sparing his life.

“The pain Dorsey brought to others can never be rectified, but carrying out Dorsey’s sentence according to Missouri law and the Court’s order will deliver justice and provide closure,” Parson said in a statement denying clemency.

The state found Dorsey guilty of murdering his cousin, Sarah Bonnie, and her husband, Ben, in their central Missouri home. The Bonnies had taken him in to protect him from drug dealers to whom he owed money. The Bonnies’ 4-year-old daughter was in the house when the crime was committed.

Parson said the Bonnie family tried to help Dorsey and he “repaid them with cruelty, inhumane violence and murder.”

But Dorsey’s defenders, which included his cousin Jenni Gerhauser — who’s also related to Sarah Bonnie — claimed the “loving, compassionate” death row inmate changed in the past 18 years.

Dorsey’s advocates argued he committed murder during a “drug-induced psychosis and alcohol-induced blackout” attributed to substances he used to cope with chronic depression, for which they say he never received proper treatment.

But other relatives of the Bonnies felt it was time for Dorsey to meet his fate.

“All of these years of pain and suffering, we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Sarah Bonnie’s family told CNN. “Brian will get the justice that Sarah and Ben have deserved for so long.”

Advocates for Dorsey unsuccessfully argued that his original defense team was under-resourced and should have tried to make a plea deal that took the death penalty off the table. His public defenders received a $12,000 flat fee.

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