© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Missouri executes Andre Cole for 1998 stabbing death

Missouri Department of Corrections

(Updated 4/15/2015, 1:12 a.m.) Missouri has carried out its third execution of the year.

Andre Cole died by lethal injection at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre. The execution began at 10:15 p.m., and he was pronounced dead at 10:24 p.m.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster released the following statement:

"Andre Cole planned and carried out a brutal act of domestic violence because he did not want to provide financial support for his child and his child's mother. It is my hope that the sentence carried out tonight brings those forever impacted by this tragedy a sense of justice and a measure of closure."

Pentobarbital was again the drug used for the procedure, according to Department of Corrections spokesman Mike O'Connell. He says there were no complications during the execution, and that Cole chose not to use any pain-relieving drugs beforehand.

Cole was convicted of the 1998 stabbing death of Anthony Curtis, who was visiting Cole's ex-wife, Terri, at the time of the killing. According to court documents, Cole was behind on child support payments and a payroll withholding order had been sent to his employer. Upon learning the news, Cole was quoted as telling his co-workers, "Before I give her another dime I'll kill the bitch."

On Aug. 21, 1998, Cole became enraged after the first payroll deduction appeared on his check stub. He went to his ex-wife's house, got inside after throwing a tire iron through a glass doorway and was confronted by Curtis. Cole then stabbed him several times and also stabbed Terri repeatedly. Curtis died, while Terri survived.

Cole fled Missouri after the attack, but returned 33 days later and turned himself in to police in St. Louis. DNA evidence confirmed the presence of Cole's blood at the scene, along with the blood from Curtis and Terri on the murder weapon.

Cole did not provide a final statement, but according to the Associated Press he nodded at relatives who blew kisses to him just before he was executed. He also turned down the traditional last meal and instead received Tuesday's regular tray meal of a turkey and bologna sandwich, a cookie and fruit punch.

After the execution, Department of Corrections Director George Lombardi read a statement to the media from Gov. Jay Nixon:

"Next week marks the observance of Crime Victims' Rights Week in Missouri, and tonight I ask the people of our state to especially remember Anthony Curtis, murdered by the man whose sentence was carried out tonight. Far too often, the names of those who are victims of violent crime, such as Anthony Curtis, are the names that are forgotten. Please join us in keeping Anthony Curtis and his loved ones in your thoughts and prayers."

Meanwhile, a group of activists, including several African-American leaders and the members of the ACLU, had asked Nixon to postpone the execution and appoint a panel to study the exclusion of black jurors from death penalty cases.  Cole, who was black, was convicted by an all-white jury.

(Updated at 9:55 p.m.)

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a request from Andre Cole for a stay of execution.

The ruling was made by Justice Samuel Alito; the official announcement also stated that Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Steven Breyer, Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan would have granted the request for a stay.

In addition, Gov. Jay Nixon has denied a clemency request from  Cole:

I give both the process and power of clemency the respect and seriousness they deserve. My office has completed its review of the petition for clemency from convicted murder Andre Cole, and after due consideration of the petition and of the facts in this case, I am denying his petition. There is no doubt of Cole's guilt in the murder of Anthony Curtis, who he stabbed more than 20 times. Cole also attacked his ex-wife, Terri, at the same time, but she survived. This was a brutal crime, and my denial of clemency upholds the court's decision to impose a sentence of death. Tonight, I ask that the people of Missouri remember Anthony Curtis and keep his family in their thoughts and prayers. 

(Original story)

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court ruling by a federal judge that had halted tonight's scheduled execution of Missouri death row inmate Andre Cole.

Another appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is expected.

Earlier today, U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry ordered Cole's execution halted, citing mental illness as a reason to hold an evidentiary hearing. Cole's attorney says his client "hears voices over the TV, the prison intercom, everywhere" from Gov. Jay Nixon and prosecutors in his case.

Cole is scheduled to be executed tonight at 6 p.m. for the 1998 fatal stabbing of Anthony Curtis, who was visiting Cole's ex-wife in her home at the time of the attack. Cole also stabbed his ex-wife, Terri, but she survived. Prosecutors say Cole was angry over child support payments being withheld from his paycheck.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.