Death row killer says he ‘knows where he’s going’ with chilling final words

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A horrible hammer murderer who was executed on death row last night wrote a shocking final statement in which he said that he 'knew where he was going'.

The infamous Ernest Lee Johnson, 61, was pronounced dead at 6.11pm local time on Tuesday (12.11am Wednesday in the UK) after being given a lethal injection in Bonne Terre, Missouri.

He was handed a death sentence for killing three Missouri corner shop employees during a robbery in February 1994.

Johnson came home covered in blood, having told his crack dealer he would be robbing the store. His victims were 46-year-old Mary Bratcher, Fred Jones (58) and Mabel Scruggs, 57.

In the hours leading up to his death, the convict penned a short letter in imprecise English in which he told his family he loved them, and offered his belief that he would be "going to heaven" because he had asked god to forgive him.

The statement, released by local news journalist Kathryn Merck on Twitter, also sees him thank his lawyer, who he said made him "feel love as if I was family to them".

His final statement said: "I am sorry and have remorse for what I do. I want to say that I love my family and friends, I am thankful of all that my lawyer has done for me.

"They made me feel love as if I was family to them, I love them all, for all the people that has prayed for me I thank them from the bottom of my. I love the Lord with all my heart and soul.

"If I am executed I know where I am going to heaven. Because I ask him to forgive me God everyone. Whit respected Ernest L Johnson (sic)."

Johnson's case had attracted huge controversy over the years, as supporters and experts said he should be excluded from the death penalty because of his intellectual difficulties.

His sentence was upheld by the US Supreme Court on Monday after a last-minute appeal for a stay of execution.

Pope Francis even intervened in the debate in his defence with an appeal for clemency.

A spokesman for the religious leader said that he wished "to place before you the simple fact of Mr Johnson’s humanity and the sacredness of all human life".

Others, however, claimed that he deserved the sentence regardless.

Rob Bratcher, the son of victim Mary Bratcher, told NBC News in 2015: "I don't have a whole lot of sympathy when someone beats their victims to death with a hammer… if there's any pain, so be it".

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  • Murder
  • Crime
  • Death Row

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