Spiritual advisers offering final comfort in execution rooms


February 5, 2023

ST. LOUIS (AP) — For decades, Missouri executions played out in similar fashion: An inmate was strapped to a gurney in a drab room, alone except for the eyes of witnesses staring through thick, soundproof glass as unidentified executioners administered the lethal chemical from behind a cinderblock wall.

But in November, convicted killer Kevin Johnson spent his final moments speaking softly with a pastor, praying, being assured of forgiveness. When Amber McLaughlin was executed in the same room weeks later, her pastor stroked her hand, providing comfort even as McLaughlin expressed that so...

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