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Public Statements

Gov. Nixon Denies Clemency Petition of Herbert Smulls


Location: Jefferson City, MO

The Governor's Office today released the following statement from Gov. Jay Nixon regarding his decision on the petition for clemency from Herbert Smulls:

I have received from my counsel a final briefing on the petition for clemency from Herbert Smulls, which has been reviewed in detail. After careful deliberation, I have denied this petition. As Governor, this is a power and a process I do not take lightly. Each instance involves a very specific set of facts, which must be considered on its own.

Herbert Smulls shot and killed Stephen Honickman and seriously wounded Florence Honickman in a cold-blooded and deliberate manner during a robbery of their jewelry business in Chesterfield. A career criminal, Smulls was apprehended by law enforcement shortly after the murder with stolen jewelry still in the car.

These crimes were brutal, and the jury that convicted Smulls determined that he deserved the most severe punishment under Missouri law. Both the conviction and the death sentence of Herbert Smulls have held up under extensive judicial review by the state and federal courts. My decision on clemency upholds the action by the jury and the decisions by the courts.

I ask that Missourians remember Stephen Honickman at this time, and keep Florence Honickman and the family and friends of the Honickmans in their thoughts and prayers.

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