Missouri Executes Herbert Smulls After U.S. Supreme Court Delays 22 Hours


Herbert Smulls
  • Herbert Smulls

Herbert Smulls, convicted of killing a Chesterfield jeweler during a robbery, was put to death with a lethal dose of pentobarbital -- Missouri's third execution in three months using a drug with controversial origins.

Smulls showed no outward signs of distress during the execution, say witnesses. He did not have any final words. He breathed heavily twice, shut his eyes and died after about nine minutes.

The U.S. Supreme Court delayed the execution by 22 hours to consider defense attorneys' appeals that the lethal drug counted as cruel and unusual punishment because it comes from an unregulated pharmacy the state refuses to name.

See also: U.S. Supreme Court Stays Execution of Herbert Smulls

One final appeal filed 30 minutes before the execution wasn't officially denied until 30 minutes after Smulls was pronounced dead at 10:20 p.m., according to the Associated Press.

Smulls was originally scheduled to be executed at 12:01 a.m., the earliest possible time to allow for delays.

Smulls was convicted of murdering Stephen Honickman, 51, and shooting his wife, Florence Honickman, during a July 27, 1991, robbery at F&M Crown Jewels in Chesterfield. Florence survived by feigning death in a pool of her own blood after the hold-up.

Smulls was pulled over and arrested fifteen minutes later with stolen jewelry and weapons in his car.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.


Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.