Mentally ill triple killer Ernest Lee Johnson vowed 'I’m going to heaven’ in haunting final words before execution

A KILLER who murdered three shop workers with a claw hammer vowed "I'm going to heaven" in his haunting final words before his execution.

Ernest Lee Johnson died by lethal injection at Missouri state prison after carrying out a sadistic triple murder in 1994.

He was pronounced dead at 6.11pm local time yesterday after the Supreme Court denied his last minute requests for a stay of execution.

In his last statement, Johnson said: "I am sorry and have remorse for what I do. I want to say that I love my family and friends, I am thankful of all that my lawyer has done for me.

"They made me feel love as if I was family to them, I love them all, for all the people that has prayed for me I thank them from the bottom of my. I love the Lord with all my heart and soul.

"If I am executed I know where I am going to heaven. Because I ask him to forgive me God everyone. Whit respected Ernest L Johnson (sic)."

Johnson's victims – Mary Bratcher, 46, Mable Scruggs, 57, and Fred Jones, 58 – were brutally murdered with a claw hammer during a store robbery in Columbia on February 12, 1994.

The killer then hid their bodies in a walk-in cooler and robbed the shop for drug money.

His final meal consisted of two double bacon cheeseburgers, two milkshakes, a large pizza and a side of onion rings, reports the Kansas City Star.

Campaigners had urged the state not to carry out the execution due to Johnson's intellectual disability.

The death row killer was born with fetal alcohol syndrome and lost about 20 per cent of his brain tissue during a 2008 surgery to remove a benign tumor.

According to Johnson's attorney, Jeremy Weis, testing and IQ indicated he has the intellectual capacity of a child.

Last week Pope Francis even pleaded with Missouri Governor Michael Parson to stop the state-sanctioned killing.

His assistant wrote: "His Holiness wishes to place before you the simple fact of Mr Johnson’s humanity and the sacredness of all human life."

The letter asked Parsons to reconsider because of Johnson's "doubtful intellectual capacity".

A petition of almost 25,000 signatures was also ignored.

However, the families of the innocent people Johnson murdered have spoken out insisting that the triple killer is not a victim.

Lorrie Heichelbech, the daughter of Mary Bratcher, told The Sun: "Let's not get it twisted. Mable Scruggs, Fred Jones, Mary Bratcher are the real victims here.

"While in the commission of a crime he beat three people to death with a hammer.

"He tried to hide and burn all the incriminating evidence."

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