The Missouri Supreme Court, which has been studying death penalty cases more closely, has set a March execution date for a man who threw a woman to her death from a Mississippi River bridge, reports the Associated Press. Stanley Hall, 37, is scheduled to die March 16; it wold be the first Missouri execution in nearly one and one half years.
Missouri reinstated the death penalty in 1989, and typically executed four to six prisoners per year. From 1989 through 2002, the state put to death 59 inmates – second only to Texas’ 220 and Virginia’s 80. State Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronnie White told the Associated Press earlier that the decline in executions was partly due to the fact that prosecutors were more reluctant to seek the death penalty. He acknowledged that his court was taking “a more deliberative approach.” In the past two years, the court has overturned about half the death sentences it has considered, and the death row population fell from 67 to 54.