Crime and Courts

The Teen Who Was Refused the Chance to Be With Her Dad as He Was Executed Says the ‘Justice System Failed Me'

Khorry Ramey was barred from attending the execution of Kevin Johnson because of an age restriction under Missouri law

Khorry Ramey and Kevin Johnson,

Khorry Ramey entered the state prison in Bonne Terre, Missouri, on Tuesday morning to visit her father, Kevin Johnson, for a final time.

The prison guards would not allow them to embrace, but the 19-year-old was permitted to bring her 2-month-old son, Kaius.

"We had a really emotional moment. He said he felt like he failed me as a father," she said Thursday. "We were able to get everything off our chests."

Several hours later, Johnson, 37, was put to death by lethal injection for killing a suburban St. Louis police officer in 2005. Johnson was 19 at the time of his arrest and would later testify at his trial that he was upset by the officer's actions and believed they were a factor in his younger brother's death.

Ramey's age became a point of contention when Johnson prepared a list of witnesses to his execution and sought to include her. Missouri law requires witnesses to be at least 21, unlike most other states with no age requirement or a limit of at least 18.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on her behalf last week arguing that the statute violated her constitutional rights. A federal judge ruled against her, and she realized she would not get to see her father take his final breath Tuesday evening.

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