BONNE TERRE, Mo. – A Missouri man who killed his cousin and her husband nearly two decades ago was put to death late Tuesday afternoon.

Brian Dorsey, 52, died via a lethal dose of pentobarbital. The execution was carried out just after 6 p.m. on April 9 at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri. He was declared dead at 6:11 p.m., according to a Missouri Department of Corrections statement.

Hours before his execution, Dorsey released a statement apologizing for his crimes and thanking his family and the legal team that tried to overturn the sentence.

To all of the family and loved ones I share with Sarah and to all of the surviving family and loved ones of Ben, I am truly, deeply, overwhelmingly sorry. Words cannot hold the just weight of my guilt and shame. I still love you. I never wanted to hurt anyone. I am sorry I hurt them and you. To my family, friends, and all of those that tried to prevent this, I love you, I am grateful for you. I have peace in my heart, in large part because of you and I thank you. To all those on all side of this sentence, I carry no ill will or anger, only acceptance and understanding.

Brian Dorsey, last statement via Missouri Dept. of Corrections

Dorsey is the first person the state has put to death in 2024. Last year, Missouri carried out the death penalty on four inmates.

Dorsey killed Sarah and Ben Bonnie on Dec. 23, 2006. The murders took place in the Bonnies’ home near New Bloomfield, Missouri, just north of Jefferson City.

At trial, prosecutors said Dorsey had sought financial help from Sarah earlier that day to pay two drug dealers at his apartment. That night, after the Bonnies went to bed, Dorsey used a shotgun from the garage to murder the couple before sexually assaulting Sarah’s body. He then stole several items from the house in order to pay off the drug debt. The couple’s 4-year-old daughter was in the home at the time but was unharmed.

Sarah’s parents found the bodies the next day. The Bonnies’ daughter was on the couch watching television. She told her grandparents that her mother “won’t wake up.”

Dorsey surrendered to law enforcement three days later. He was sentenced to death on Aug. 28, 2008, after pleading guilty to the murders. Dorsey would later appeal the sentence.

Seventy-two current and former Department of Corrections officers signed a clemency petition on Monday, citing Dorsey’s good behavior and arguing that he had undergone rehabilitation. Missouri Governor Mike Parson rejected the petition. Five jurors who served during the penalty phase of Dorsey’s also requested mercy from the governor.

In a letter to Parson, former Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Wolff cited “a rare failing of the legal system itself” to ask the governor to grant Dorsey life imprisonment in lieu of execution. Wolff was on the court when it denied Dorsey’s appeal for leniency.

Wolff did not deny Dorsey committed the murders but pointed out that Dorsey’s attorneys at the time were paid a flat fee by the state’s public defender system, in effect creating “an inherent financial conflict of interest” and insuring they had no incentive to invest any time in the case, and that they instructed their client to plead guilty to the murders knowing the death penalty was still on the table.

In addition, Wolff said that the justices were unaware of evidence that Dorsey was in a “drug-induced psychosis” at the time of the murders, which should have made him ineligible for the death penalty in Missouri.

“Executing Mr. Dorsey, however, will dishonor our system of capital punishment,” Wolff wrote.

Parson, a former county sheriff, has not granted clemency for capital punishment during his tenure as governor.

The United States Supreme Court denied Dorsey’s last two appeals earlier Tuesday.

Missouri’s next execution is scheduled for June 11. David R. Hosier will be put to death for the 2009 murder of Angela Gilpin of Jefferson City.