Missouri man executed for killing 2 jail guards in 2000

BONNE TERRE, Mo. — A Missouri man convicted of killing two jail guards in 2000 was executed on Tuesday.

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Michael Tisius, 42, was put to death by lethal injection at the state prison in Bonne Terre, KMOV-TV reported. He was pronounced dead at 6:10 p.m. CDT, authorities said.

Tisius became the third person in Missouri and the 12th person nationally to be executed this year, according to The Associated Press.

Tisius was accused of killing officers Leon Egley and Jason Acton on June 22, 2000, at the Randolph County Jail, KMOV reported.

In a final written statement, Tisius said he tried hard “to become a better man,” and expressed remorse, according to the AP.

“I am sorry,” he wrote. “And not because I am at the end. But because I truly am sorry.”

Gov. Mike Parson said in a statement on Monday that Tisius’ case “received fair and careful review at each step in the judicial process,” The New York Times reported.

“Missouri’s judicial system provided Mr. Tisius with due process and fair proceedings for his brutal murders of two Randolph County jail guards,” Parson said. “Having run a small county jail, I know firsthand the hard work and selflessness displayed by those who work there. It’s despicable that two dedicated public servants were murdered in a failed attempt to help another criminal evade the law.”

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay of execution for Tisius, the Times reported. The nation’s highest court rejected the argument by Tisius’ lawyer that his age at the time of the crime -- he was 19 -- should spare him from the death penalty.

A 2005 Supreme Court ruling barred executions of people under the age of 18 when their crime occurred, KMBC reported. Even though Tisius was 19 at the time of the shootings, his attorneys argued that his sentence should have been commuted to life in prison without the chance for parole, according to the television station.

When Tisius was 18 he was jailed on a misdemeanor charge of pawning a rented stereo system, according to the AP.

Tisius was in the Randolph County Jail in June 2000 with inmate Roy Vance, the Times reported. Tisius was about to be released, and court records stated that he discussed a plan to help Vance escape once he was out of jail.

Shortly after midnight on June 22, 2000, Tisius went to the jail with Vance’s girlfriend, Tracie Bulington, according to the AP. Tisius shot both unarmed guards with a pistol and fled the scene. Tisius and Bulington were later arrested 120 miles away in Wathena, Kansas, the news organization reported.

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