JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP/KSDK) - The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of a death row inmate who shot a suburban St. Louis police officer.
The court's 5-2 decision Tuesday dealt with Kevin Johnson. He was convicted of fatally shooting Kirkwood Police Sgt. Bill McEntee in 2005.
Johnson's current attorneys raised about a dozen claims that his original attorneys were ineffective. Among other things, they claimed the presence of numerous uniformed police in the courtroom and halls could have influenced jurors to find Johnson guilty.
Judge George Draper III rejected that argument in the Supreme Court's majority opinion.
But judges Patricia Breckenridge and Laura Denvir Stith dissented. They said Johnson's attorneys should have objected to the police presence, and he deserves a hearing on whether he got a fair trial.
On Tuesday night the Kirkwood Police Department released the following statement to NewsChannel 5:
"The Kirkwood Police Department supports the recent decision by the Supreme Court of the State of Missouri in upholding the murder conviction of Kevin Johnson. Johnson was convicted in 2007 of murdering Sergeant William "Bill" McEntee on the evening of July 5, 2005. Johnson was sentenced to death for the crime."
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