Related topics

Missouri Executes Convicted Killer

June 28, 2000 GMT

POTOSI, Mo. (AP) _ A man was executed by injection early Wednesday for suffocating a woman and her son during a 1988 robbery because he feared the pair would identify him.

Bert Hunter, 53, was apparently the first inmate in Missouri history put to death without a jury trial. When his case came to trial in 1989, Hunter was clinically depressed and suicidal. He pleaded guilty and asked the judge for the death sentence.

His later attempts to seek a new trial were denied. Hours before his death, he said he didn’t expect a last-minute reprieve.

``There is no justice,″ Hunter said. ``It’s time for this nightmare to be over, as far as I’m concerned.″

Hunter was convicted of killing Mildred Hodges, 75, and her son, Richard, 49, at their home in Jefferson City. Tomas Ervin was also convicted in the crime and sentenced to die.

Hunter denied that Ervin was involved in the murders, saying an unnamed accomplice killed Richard Hodges after the victim’s mother died during a scuffle.

Hunter was earlier convicted of killing a blind bar owner in 1968, but was released on parole in 1980. Prosecutor Richard Callahan said Hunter was an intelligent man whose cocaine habit cost him work.

In need of money, Hunter and Ervin planned to rob the Hodges home, Callahan said. In his confession, Hunter said the Hodges were killed because the assailants feared they had been recognized.

Both victims were found with plastic bags over their heads. A medical examiner said they died of suffocation.