Killer executed in US despite claims his death would involve gruesome tumour explosions

Russell Bucklew was executed on Tuesday (Picture: AP)

A convicted killer has been executed in the U.S. despite claiming to have a rare condition that would make his facial tumours explode if he was injected.

Russell Bucklew, 51, died in Missouri on Tuesday evening after being convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend’s lover Michael Sanders in 1996.

Bucklew claimed a lethal injection might inflict undue pain by rupturing blood-filled tumours on his face, head, neck and throat, caused by a rare congenital condition called cavernous hemangioma.

He argued that would be in violation of the US Constitution's Eighth Amendment, which bars cruel and unusual punishment.

The US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against Bucklew in April.

Jistices at the Supreme Court in Washington ruled 5-4 against Russell Bucklew (Picture: AP)

KFVS news anchor Kathy Sweeney witnessed his execution and said there were no complications.

She added: ‘His feet were twitching under the sheets, there was a sigh and then no more movement.’

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Bucklew was the first inmate in Missouri to be executed since January 2017 and the 17th inmate executed in the United States in 2019, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson rejected Bucklew's request for clemency just a few hours before he was executed.

People protesting against the execution (Picture: AP)

He murdered Mr Sanders just over a month after his ex-partner Stephanie Ray broke up with him on Valentine's Day 1996.

On March 20, after Ray and Sanders moved in together, Bucklew stole a car and two of his brother's pistols, handcuffs and a roll of duct tape.

The next day, Bucklew went to the trailer where the couple lived and fatally shot Sanders. He also shot at Sanders' 6-year-old son but missed, according to court documents.

Bucklew then handcuffed Ray, dragged her to the stolen vehicle and drove away. He later sexually assaulted her. When authorities found him, he wounded a police officer before they took him into custody, according to court papers.

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