St. Louis man who murdered De Soto couple executed Tuesday

Published: May. 1, 2022 at 10:19 PM CDT|Updated: May. 3, 2022 at 6:25 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV and AP) - On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to stop the scheduled execution of Carman Deck. After more than two decades since a brutal double murder in Jefferson County, Deck died by lethal injection Tuesday night.

Deck, 56, murdered Zelma and James Long inside their De Soto home in 1996. He and his sister, Tonia Cummings, knocked on the door of Long’s home asking for directions. They robbed the couple and Deck shot them “execution-style.” He was convicted in 1998 and was sentenced to death. The death sentence was overturned three times over the years for various reasons. But in 2020, a panel of judges reinstated the sentence.

Children and grandchildren of Zelma and James Long were at the prison in Bonne Terre to witness the execution.

Governor Mike Parson confirmed Monday that the State of Missouri would carry out the sentence of Deck on Tuesday as ordered by the Supreme Court.

“Mr. Deck has received due process, and three separate juries of his peers have recommended sentences of death for the brutal murders he committed. The State of Missouri will carry out Mr. Deck’s sentence according to the Court’s order and deliver justice.”

But Deck’s attorneys and activists had hoped to stop the execution.

“We feel like the death penalty is not something a caring, moral, civilized society would pursue. Obviously, Mr. Deck did commit this crime. We send our condolences and grief for the family as well, but the death penalty does not solve anything,” said Michelle Smith with Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

The organization held several events on Tuesday leading up to the execution. Deck’s attorneys filed a clemency petition in hopes that Gov. Mike Parson would commute the sentence and give Deck life in prison without parole.

The clemency petition cited a childhood filled with abuse. The “failure of the Missouri system to protect Mr. Deck as a child is a primary reason his life took the tragic path that it did.”

Two relatives of Deck contacted News 4 to say he’s innocent and was forced to confess to the murders because his relatives were threatened. A check with his legal team found that the claim is not something his attorneys pursued in their efforts to halt his execution.

Deck mouthed a few inaudible words as the 5 grams of pentobarbital were administered, then puffed out a couple of breaths before all movement stopped, the process lasting just a few seconds.

“My hope is that one day the world will find peace and that we all will learn to be kind and loving to one another,” Deck said in a written final statement. “We all are a part of this journey through life, connected in every way. Please give love, show love, BE LOVE!”

Six people have been executed in Missouri over the last six years.