There's rarely anything to celebrate when the state of Missouri executes someone. Wednesday's execution of Daniel Basile is no different. Basile, convicted in a murder-for-hire scheme in 1992, was put to death Wednesday night following a 22-hour reprieve from Gov. Bob Holden. In the end the courts found insufficient evidence of any wrongdoing during his trial and Basile died by lethal injection.
The Governor was placed in the awkward position of allowing Basile time to mount a last-minute appeal with a surprise witness. But when the witness came forward, the information provided was clearly not enough to halt the execution. Professing his innocence to the end, Basile died at 10:05 p.m. Wednesday at the Potosi Correctional Center.
Basile was the hitman in a murder-for-hire scheme in the 1992 contract killing of Elizabeth DeCaro. Her husband received a life sentence for his role in the homicide.
The general public needs to know why the judicial system on capital murder takes so long in this nation. That, to me, is the central question. If Basile - or any other inmate - is given ample time and opportunity to prove their innocence, it seems odd that it takes so very long to arrive at this final solution. The public will never fully understand this slow and agonizing process. And the courts and the legal system are not anxious to provide an answer.
Missouri has a well-earned reputation for carrying out the death penalty. Basile's death marked the 58th time since 1989 that Missouri has executed a convicted murderer. It remains to be seen if this trend will eventually deter capital crimes in our state. But at the very least it sends a clear signal to those intent on murder. In Missouri, you pay for your crime.