The wife of a Missouri police officer shot and killed in 2005 spoke for the first time since the tragedy following the execution of the gunman in the slaying Tuesday.
“When he left for work that day, we could not imagine that he would be executed by someone he gave his life to protect,” said Mary McEntee about her husband, Sgt. William McEntee, a 20-year veteran with the Kirkwood Police Department.
McEntee was one of three officers who responded to the house of Kevin Johnson, 37, on July 5, 2005, to serve a warrant for his arrest, NBC News reports. As officers arrived, Johnson woke up his 12-year-old brother and had him run to a neighbor's house.
While at the neighbor's house, the brother began having a seizure related to a heart issue. He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
That night, McEntee had returned to Johnson's neighborhood in connection with reports of fireworks. While McEntee was interviewing a group of children, Johnson opened fire and fatally shot the officer.
“Bill didn’t get to fight for his life," Mary McEntee said. "He didn’t have the chance to be heard before a jury, to decide whether he would live or die."
Johnson was executed by lethal injection at the state prison in Bonne Terre on Tuesday. It was Missouri's second execution this year and the 17th nationally.
As part of their defense, Johnson's lawyers did not deny he shot McEntee, but argued that his brother's death mitigated his actions. The U.S. Supreme Court and Gov. Mike Parson, however, refused to stay Johnson's execution.
Along with his wife, McEntee is survived by three children.
“His children were devastated that their dad was murdered being 7, 10 and 13," Mary McEntee said. "They didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. It took 17 years of grieving and pushing forward to get to this point today. This is something that I hope no other family should have to go through because you truly never forget or get over."
“During this process, many have forgot Bill was the victim,” she added. “We miss Bill every day of our lives.”