View Full Version : Kenneth Kenley Missouri RIP

02-05-2003, 06:23 PM
Missouri executes man for 1984 slaying at bar
Source:St. Louis Post-Dispatch & Rick Halperin

Kenneth Kenley, who murdered a pool player to show he meant business while robbing a crowded tavern 19 years ago, was executed by injection early today in the Potosi Correctional Center.

Kenley, 42, was condemned for shooting Ronnie Felts on Jan. 4, 1984, in the old Blue Moon tavern just south of Poplar Bluff, Mo. Felts, a 27-year-old father of 2 children, was playing pool with friends when Kenley burst in and announced a holdup.

Kenley was pronounced dead at 12:03 a.m. today. Kenley appeared to speak to his relatives and friends through the window separating him from the witnesses. After he lost consciousness, a woman in that group began weeping loudly.

Lawyers for Kenley asked Gov. Bob Holden to commute his sentence to life without parole. They also filed last-ditch appeals with federal courts, arguing that Kenley was mentally unfit to be executed.

But Holden declined to intervene about 11 p.m., shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court turned down the appeal.

Kenley met Tuesday with relatives. 2 cousins, an uncle and an in-law were prepared to witness on his behalf.

Phyllis Manns, who is Ronnie Felts' widow, and their children, Mark Van Meter and Melissa Felts, all of Poplar Bluff, were to witness from a nearby area for the victim's family.

Regina Sanders, a step-aunt to Kenley, spoke to him by telephone Tuesday. "He said, 'If they're going to do it, they're going to do it,'" said Sanders, of Greenville, Texas. "I asked him why he did (the murder). He said, "I had a death wish.'"

Kenley never claimed innocence. Numerous witnesses testified that he rushed into the tavern shortly after midnight and ordered everyone onto the floor. Aiming his .38-caliber revolver at Felts, Kenley shouted, "I'll make an example of you," and shot him in the head. He also wounded the bartender and tried to kidnap the female owner.

An hour earlier, Kenley had robbed a convenience store and abducted a customer, and he shot and wounded her as she fled. He tried to rob a motel after he left the Blue Moon and was arrested later that morning in Corning, Ark., when he tried to switch getaway cars.

Kenley received the death penalty in a trial in Poplar Bluff. A federal judge ordered a new hearing on sentencing, and Kenley was condemned again after a rehearing in Rolla, Mo., in 1994.

Kenley becomes the 1st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Missouri and the 60th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1989. Missouri trails only Texas (296) and Virginia (87) in the number of executions carried out since the death penalty was re-legalized in the USA on July 2, 1976.

There are 63 other men awaiting execution at the Potosi prison.

Kenley becomes the 9th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 829th overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.

02-05-2003, 07:25 PM
Goodness. That happen in 1984? shesh