House Majority Leader urges no execution on convited killer

Missouri House Majority Leader Steven Tilley says Gov. Jay Nixon should commute the death sentence of convicted killer Dennis Skillicorn.The suggestion came during debate of legislation calling for a two-year moratorium on the death penalty.Dennis Skillicorn is one of three men convicted of the 1994 slaying of Excelsior Springs, Missouri businessman Richard Drummond, who stopped to help them when their car broke down on Interstate 70 in Callaway County."According to some of the statements, the gentleman that is on death row stayed in the car, said Rep. Bob Nance (R-Excelscior Springs.) But he was an accomplice. He has gotten what he deserved."The case was a focal point of debate on Rep. Bill Deeken's (R-Jefferson City) effort to impose a two-year moratorium on the death penalty."I think it is wise for officials to conduct a study to see how many people have been wrongly convicted in Missouri and to help rebuild confidence in the accuracy of our system," said Deeken.Lawmakers were surprised when Majority Floor Leader Stephen Tilley endorsed the moratorium. He cited revelations that another suspect in the Drummond murder, Allen Nicklasson, actually did the killing. Nicklasson told authorities that Skillicorn had waited in the car, without knowledge of the murder plan."Certainly, that would be enough reasonable doubt for me that I would be very concerned if this state executed that individual," Rep. Steve Tilley (R-Perryville.)Rep. Kenny Jones (R-California,) who is a former sheriff whose wife was murdered, convinced House colleagues to reject the moratorium, but approve a formal review of the death penalty."I support the commission doin' the study to prove that the death penalty is taken care of properly in the state of Missouri," said Tilley.There have been no executions in Missouri since 2005. Jones and others say that's enough of a moratorium.Skillicorn is scheduled to be put to death one week from today.