Missouri executes man for 1994 good Samaritan death

In this photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections, Missouri death row inmate Allen Nicklasson is shown, Dec. 15, 2011. Nicklasson was executed Wednesday night, Dec. 11, 2013, for his role in killing Richard Drummond, a businessman who stopped to help when he saw a car stranded along Interstate 70 near Kingdom City in 1994.

In this photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections, Missouri death row inmate Allen Nicklasson is shown, Dec. 15, 2011. Nicklasson was executed Wednesday night, Dec. 11, 2013, for his role in killing Richard Drummond, a businessman who stopped to help when he saw a car stranded along Interstate 70 near Kingdom City in 1994.

BONNE TERRE, Mo. (AP) — Missouri executed Allen Nicklasson on Wednesday night for killing a good Samaritan who stopped to help him and his friends after their car stalled on Interstate 70 in 1994.

It was the state's second execution in three weeks.

An appeals court panel had granted a stay of execution for Nicklasson on Monday, citing concerns about his counsel at trial and sentencing in 1996. That stay was taken up to the U.S. Supreme Court and was overturned Wednesday. Gov. Jay Nixon refused to grant clemency.

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

He declined interview requests this week. But in a 2009 interview with The Associated Press he spoke of a childhood scarred by abuse and mental illness. He recalled watching his mother shoot up heroin. She fed him Alpo dog food for dinner, he said, and once made him fight a Doberman for money.

Nicklasson was often removed from home and spent part of his childhood in mental institutions and homes for boys. He became addicted to drugs.

He met convicted killer Dennis Skillicorn in 1994 at a drug rehab center in Kansas City. The men, along with Tim DeGraffenreid, drove to St. Louis to buy drugs in August that year. On the way back, their 1983 Chevrolet Caprice broke down near Kingdom City, Mo. They dropped the car off with a mechanic and burglarized a home, stealing money and drugs.

The next day, despite mechanics' warnings that the car wouldn't last, they got back on I-70 where it broke down again.

Drummond, 47, who was a technical support supervisor for AT&T, spotted the stranded motorists and stopped to help. The men put a gun to his head and ordered him to drive his Dodge Intrepid west.

About 60 miles later, in Lafayette County, the men ordered Drummond off the road to a secluded area. Nicklasson recalled that he left Skillicorn and DeGraffenreid behind and walked Drummond to a field. He said he had intended to tie Drummond up to buy time for the trio to get away.

Instead, he ordered Drummond to kneel and cross his legs. He shot him twice in the head. Drummond's remains were found eight days later.

"I'm laughing, pacing," Nicklasson said, recalling the moment. "I started losing it. I wouldn't want this out, but I felt a euphoria. I finally got back for all the beatings I took" as a child.

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

Nicklasson and Skillicorn were sentenced to life in prison for the Arizona killings and also sentenced to death in Missouri for Drummond's death. Skillicorn was executed in 2009.

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

Nikklasson's execution was the state's second to use a single drug, pentobarbital.

Missouri previously used a three-drug method for executions but changed protocols after drugmakers stopped selling the lethal drugs to prisons and corrections departments. The pentobarbital used in Missouri executions comes from an undisclosed compounding pharmacy — the Missouri Department of Corrections declines to say who makes the drug, or where.

Racist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin was executed Nov. 20. Before that, Missouri had not performed an execution in nearly three years.

Earlier coverage:

BONNE TERRE, Mo. (AP) — 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 for the 1994 murder of businessman Richard Drummond, who was shot to death after he stopped to help when a car carrying Nicklasson and two others stalled near Kingdom City in central Missouri. But an appeals court stopped the execution 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.

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.

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