Missouri became the first state to execute an openly transgender inmate for the murder of a former girlfriend in 2003. U.S. Missouri Governor Mike Parson confirmed c, 49, was scheduled for execution via lethal injection on Tuesday as a request for clemency submitted by McLaughlin’s lawyers last month was rejected. Attorney, Larry Komp said no court appeals were pending at the time, however, an online petition was set up urging the Missouri Governor to halt the execution. On Tuesday morning, the petition reached more than 5,500 out of the requested 6,400 signatures.

According to CBS News, Parson said that McLaughlin’s conviction and sentence were sustained after a scrupulous examination of state laws. Continuing, he said that the inmate stalked, raped, and murdered Beverly Guenther, adding that McLaughlin was a violent criminal. Parson also said that the family and loved ones of the victim deserve peace and that the state will carry out the sentence according to the Court’s order and render justice.

An application for executive clemency was submitted to the governor by Mclaughlin’s attorneys on Dec 12, pleading with the governor to change their client’s sentence to life in prison, while noting that a death penalty was not given in a trial by jury. When the jury deadlocked on the punishment during the trial, a judge from St. Louis later determined McLaughlin’s sentence. The application stated that Missouri and Indiana were the only two states that permit trial judges to pass death penalty sentences in the case of a deadlocked jury.

The clemency application touched on several issues regarding the inmate’s traumatic childhood experiences and mental health problems, which the jury did not hear during the trial. It said that one of the inmate’s foster parents rubbed feces on McLaughlin’s face during infancy and the adoptive father used a stun gun on her during her childhood years. They also noted that the client suffered from depression and attempted suicide multiple times.

McLaughlin’s final written statement read, “I am sorry for what I did, I am a loving and caring person.” McLaughlin also received a last meal, consisting of a cheeseburger and french fries coupled with a strawberry milkshake and peanut M&Ms. She spoke quietly with a spiritual adviser by her side as received a lethal dose of pentobarbital. She breathed heavily a couple of times before closing her eyes. Doctors pronounced her dead a few minutes later after her last breath.

Amber McLaughlin
Amber McLaughlin. Photo by: Associated Press