The State of Missouri executed Earl Ringo Jr. on Tuesday, Sept. 9 for committing two murders in 1998; Ringo left behind a note with his final words and a quote from the Quran.
"O my Lord bestow wisdom on me, and join me with the righteous," Ringo wrote before the execution took place.
After all last-minute appeals were exhausted, Ringo was taken to the execution chamber in the Bonne Terre prison, where he was injected with a lethal dose of pentobarbital. He was pronounced dead just nine minutes later, according to Mike O'Connell, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections.
Ringo's lawyer was concerned with the use of the drug midazolam in the execution, but officials stated that the drug was not used in the actual execution but only to "relieve the offender's level of anxiety in advance of the execution," the Department of Corrections said. "The only lethal chemical the department uses is pentobarbital."
Governor Jay Nixon urged Missourians to focus on "the two innocent people whose lives were taken through brutal acts of violence" after Ringo was pronounced dead.
In 1998, the prisoner attempted to rob a local Ruby Tuesday where he once worked, and killed Dennis Poyser and Joanna Baysinger. Former workers provided authorities with enough information to lead to a search that turned up the gun receipt, bulletproof vest, and other evidence at the home of Ringo's mother. He later admitted to the robbery but said he shot Poyser and Baysinger in self-defense. He was sentenced to death in 1999.
"There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of him or wonder what my life would be like today, not only for myself, but for my kids," Jama Brown, Poyser's widow, told the press. "Please do not make this about how executions shouldn't take place. Put your effort on how we can stop people from committing these terrible actions. If this person hadn't tried to take what wasn't his, he would have been able to live his life."