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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 11:58 pm

Missouri executes man in 1994 good Samaritan death

By JIM SALTERAssociated Press

A Kansas City man has been executed for killing a good Samaritan who stopped to help him and his friends after their car had broken down in 1994.

Allen Nicklasson, 41, was pronounced dead at 10:52 p.m. Wednesday at the state prison in Bonne Terre.

Nicklasson and two other men were returning to Kansas City after buying drugs in St. Louis in August 1994 when their car broke down. Excelsior Springs businessman Richard Drummond stopped to help them.

The men forced him to drive to a secluded area where Nicklasson shot him twice in the head.

Wednesday's execution is the state's second in three weeks. Racist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin was executed Nov. 20.

It is also the second execution since Missouri began using a single execution drug, pentobarbital.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with the state of Missouri in its bid to execute a man convicted of shooting a good Samaritan who stopped to help the Kansas City man and two friends who were stranded on the side of a highway in 1994.

The Supreme Court announced its decision late Wednesday night, and corrections officials moved quickly to prepare for the execution of Allen Nicklasson at its prison in Bonne Terre. Missouri uses a lethal injection of the sedative pentobarbital to execute inmates. The state used the drug for the first time in last month's execution of serial killer Joseph Franklin.

Nicklasson, 41, had been scheduled to die by injection at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay Tuesday over concerns about Nicklasson's legal representation.

When the full appeals court refused to take up the case on Tuesday, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster appealed to the Supreme Court.

"In the last nineteen years, Nicklasson has filed appeals or challenges to his convictions numerous times, in five different courts," Koster wrote in the appeal to the high court. "The time for enforcement of Missouri's criminal judgment against Allen L. Nicklasson is long, long overdue."

Nicklasson's attorney, Jennifer Herndon, also appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court and Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon to stop the execution, but there were no signs that Nixon planned to intervene.

The justices voted 5-4 to vacate the stay of execution, with Justice Ruth Ginsberg, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan dissenting.

Nicklasson, Dennis Skillicorn and Tim DeGraffenreid were returning to Kansas City after buying drugs in St. Louis in August 1994 when their car broke down on Interstate 70 near Kingdom City. When Richard Drummond stopped to help, the men forced the 47-year-old Excelsior Springs businessman to drive west, then exit and head to a secluded area, where Nicklasson shot him twice in the head.

Nicklasson and Skillicorn then drove Drummond's car to Arizona. When the vehicle broke down in the desert, they approached the home of Joseph and Charlene Babcock. Joseph Babcock was killed by Nicklasson after driving the men back to their vehicle, and Charlene Babcock was killed at the couple's home.

Both men were sentenced to life in prison for the Arizona killings. Both were sentenced to death in Missouri. Skillicorn was executed in 2009.

DeGraffenreid pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and did not receive a death sentence.