Alis Ben Johns is not planning on being executed without a fight.
After being denied a writ of prohibition last week by the Southern District Court of Appeals, Johns, who murdered three people, including Wilma Bragg, 57, of Stark City, is taking his case to the Missouri Supreme Court. His motion was filed July 5 by public defender Donald Catlett, according to court records. Catlett has a long record of working with defendants who have mental problems or who are alleged to have mental problems.
A thorough breakdown of the crimes Johns committed can be found in the June 30 Turner Report at http://rturner229.blogspot.com/2005/06/bragg-killers-appeal-rejected.html
When the Missouri Supreme Court made its initial ruling against Johns in April 2000, it was by a 5-2 vote, with a strong dissent written by Judge Michael Wolff.
"Because I believe Alis Ben (Joe) Johns was deprived of a fair trial with respect to his self-defense theory, I would grant him a new trial and, accordingly, I dissent from the principal opinion's upholding of the finding of guilt," Wolff wrote.
Johns' lawyer was not allowed to introduce evidence of self-defense in the case, including his victim's tendency toward violence, the fact that he had been chased by the victim prior to shooting him, and the victim's blood alcohol content, which was more than 0.26, more than three times the legal limit.
Of course, Johns killed two more people while leading law enforcement officials on a chase across the state, but it was the first victim, Thomas Stewart, whose murder put Johns on death row.
After the 2000 ruling, Johns' attorneys appealed the case to the U. S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case in 2001.