Death row killer asked for cheeseburgers and pizza for his final greasy meal

Ernest Lee Johnson was executed today at Missouri state prison in Bonne Terre after murdering three shop workers in a 1994 robbery.

The 61-year-old death row inmate was given a lethal injection for killing his three victims – Mary Bratcher, 46, Mable Scruggs, 57, and Fred Jones, 58 – with a claw hammer in Columbia 27 years ago.

As is tradition before executions in the US, Johnson was also given his special last meal. The tradition of requested last meals in the US is thought to have started in Texas in 1924.

It has been revealed that Johnson chose to gorge on a greasy mega meal in his final hours.

As an opener, the triple murder convict tucked into two hearty double bacon cheeseburgers, according to The Kansas City Star.

To wash that down he requested that prison authorities bring him two strawberry milkshakes.

For his final mouthfuls, he then devoured a large pizza, with a side of onion rings for good measure.

Johnson was pronounced dead at 6.11p.m on Tuesday, local time, after the US Supreme Court denied last minute requests to stop the execution.

This came after years of legal debate over his death penalty, which was questioned on the grounds that he suffered from an intellectual disability.

Last week, Pope Francis made a remarkable plea to Missouri State Governor Michael Parson to stop the execution.

"His Holiness wishes to place before you the simple fact of Mr Johnson’s humanity and the sacredness of all human life," wrote Francis' assistant Archbishop Christophe Pierre.

The letter stated "grave crimes such as his deserve grave punishment", but urged Governor Parson not to give the death penalty partly due to Johnson's "doubtful intellectual capacity".

Governor Parson denied the Pope's plea for clemency, as well as a petition with almost 25,000 signatures.

The families of those killed by Johnson have also had their say, insisting that he is not a victim.

Lorrie Heichelbech, Bratcher's daughter, 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."

Police said at the time that he was trying to get money to buy drugs.

Johnson was first convicted on three counts of first-degree murder in 1995. On two occasions since then, his death penalty was overturned, only two be overturned again by jury.

Missouri Supreme Court set his execution date earlier this year for October 5.

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