JEFFERSON CITY – The Governor’s Office today released the following statement from Gov. Jay Nixon regarding his decision on the petition for clemency made on behalf of Earl M. Forrest:
The clemency petition for Earl M. Forrest has been reviewed thoroughly, and I have subsequently received a final briefing from my counsel. After deliberate consideration to the merits of the petition and the facts of this case, I have denied this petition. This is a power of the Governor that I take very seriously, and great consideration is given to the specific facts of each case.
Earl Forrest was convicted by a jury of murdering three people and sentenced to death on each count. Among his victims was Dent County Chief Deputy Sheriff Joann Barnes, whom Forrest killed after he had already murdered Harriett Smith and Michael Wells. During the shootout with law enforcement officers, Forrest also shot and wounded then-Dent County Sheriff Bob Wofford. My decision today upholds the decision handed down by the jury and upheld by the state and federal courts.
As preparations are made to carry out the sentence, I ask that Missourians remember Chief Deputy Barnes, Harriett Smith and Michael Wells at this time and keep their families in their thoughts and prayers.