Twenty-two hours after he was scheduled to die, Allen Nicklasson got the news the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly decided not to halt his execution Wednesday. Nicklasson died of lethal injection at 10:52 p.m. Wednesday, put to death for shooting a good samaritan who stopped to help when Nicklasson's car broke down on the way home from a drug run.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals tried to stop Nicklasson's execution with hours to spare Tuesday, which kicked the case all the way up to the U.S. highest court. The supreme court voted 5 to 4 to allow Missouri to execute Nicklasson, with justices Ruth Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissenting.
Governor Jay Nixon denied Nicklasson clemency immediately after the supreme court ruling, saying:
Earlier today, I received from my counsel a final briefing on the petition for clemency from Allen Nicklasson, which has been reviewed in detail. After careful deliberation, I have denied this petition. As Governor, this is a power and a process I do not take lightly. Each instance involves a very specific set of facts, which must be considered on its own.
The brutality of this crime is unquestioned. Allen Nicklasson was convicted of murdering Richard Drummond, a Good Samaritan who had stopped along Interstate 70 to help Nicklasson and Dennis Skillicorn, an accomplice who already has been executed for the Drummond murder. The jury that convicted Nicklasson determined that he deserved the most severe punishment under Missouri law, and my decision on clemency upholds the jury's action. Both the conviction and the death sentence of Allen Nicklasson have held up under extensive judicial review by the state and federal courts.
I ask that Missourians remember Nicklasson's victims at this time and keep their families and friends in their thoughts and prayers.
Nicklasson, 41, prayed with the prison chaplain for about 20 minutes before his execution, according to the Associated Press. He offered no final words, and no one from his family or the victim's family attended.
Nicklasson showed little reaction to the lethal drug pentobarbital, according to the Associated Press. He kept his eyes closed throughout and started breathing heavily after about two minutes. He died eight minutes later.