Missouri to execute man convicted of murder over child support
Gurney used for lethal injections (AFP)

Missouri was preparing on Tuesday to execute a man convicted of attacking his former wife over child support payments and killing her friend as his lawyers exhausted several avenues of appeal.

Andre Cole, 52, is scheduled to be put to death at 6 p.m. (CDT) Tuesday. His attorneys have argued that Cole's death sentence was unfair because he is an African-American and he was condemned to death by an all-white jury. They also have argued that he suffers from psychosis, including having hallucinations that compromised his ability to understand why he is facing execution.

As well, Cole is one of several Missouri death row inmates who have alleged the state's lethal injection protocol violates a constitutional prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

Cole was divorced from his wife, Terri, in 1995. He fell $3,000 behind in child support for the couple's two children and his wages were ordered garnished, according to court records.

After the first garnishment in August 1998, Cole broke into his ex-wife's home and stabbed her and a male friend repeatedly. The ex-wife survived but her friend did not. Cole was convicted of first-degree murder and first-degree assault as well as armed criminal action and first-degree burglary, court records state.

State officials have argued in court documents that there is no valid reason to delay Cole's execution.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; editing by Andrew Hay)