Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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April 23, 2014

Missouri executes inmate for 1993 farm slaying

(Continued)

He turned to his son and said, "Finish her off." Brent Rousan fired a single shot into the side of her head.

The men placed the bodies in a tarp and put them near a shed. Later that night, they returned along with another Rousan brother, loaded the bodies in the Lewis' pickup truck, and took two cows, a VCR, jewelry, a saddle and other items.

For almost exactly a year, they got away with the crime. The couple seemingly had vanished without a trace.

But in September 1994, investigators received two tips that helped them solve the case: Rousan's brother-in-law, Bruce Williams, called police and implicated Rousan in the couple's killings, and a sister of William and Robert Rousan sold the Lewises' stolen VCR to a pawn shop.

The couple's bodies were found in a shallow grave covered with concrete and a pile of horse manure on the farm where William Rousan was living. He was caught after a four-day manhunt.

Brent Rousan pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Robert Rousan cooperated with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He served seven years in prison and was released in 2001.

Gov. Jay Nixon declined William Rousan's clemency request Tuesday evening, clearing the way for the execution to proceed. In a statement explaining his decision, Nixon said he thought Rousan's sentence was appropriate for his alleged role as the mastermind behind the "cold-blooded plot" that led to the couple's slayings.

Earlier Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down Rousan's request to delay his execution.

Efforts to spare Rousan's life hinged an argument that has held little sway over the courts — concerns about the secrecy used to obtain the execution drug, and the possibility that a substandard drug could cause pain and suffering in the execution process.

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