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At a time when other states in the US are backing away from the death penalty, Missouri has done the opposite. It is currently executing its death row inmates faster than any other state in the country, at a rate of about one per month.
At 21:09 local time on Tuesday evening, Roderick Nunley became the sixth death row inmate executed by the state of Missouri in 2015. He was convicted of the 1989 kidnapping, rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl in Kansas City. His was the latest in a string of executions by the state since 2013.
In May 2015, Nebraska became the 19th state to abolish the death penalty. A federal appeals court in California is currently considering the constitutionality of capital punishment. Difficulty procuring the drugs necessary for lethal injections has halted the process in some places.
But while executions have slowed elsewhere, Missouri is ramping up, ever since it secured a new, secret source for the execution drug pentobarbital.
Lawyer Jennifer Herndon's caseload is a testament to that fact. Of the last 18 men executed by Missouri, eight of them were her clients. Nunley was her final capital case.
No one in Missouri has had more executed clients in the last two years. In part because of this, she was profiled by The Marshall Project in an article entitled "The Burnout". In the story, Herndon - known once as a dedicated lawyer who won a landmark decision that said individuals who committed their crimes while juveniles can not be executed - said she no longer wanted to represent death row inmates. At the time, Nunley and another man named Richard Strong were still alive. Strong was subsequently executed in June this year.
"I'm not doing anybody any good," Herndon told the news outlet."There's no joy in it whatsoever. They execute people no matter what."
Missouri capital defence attorneys Lindsay Runnels and Jennifer Merrigan were shocked by what they read about Herndon in the story. They did not realise that her law licence had been suspended for a time in 2013 because she was delinquent on her taxes to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.
Read More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34120745