A man convicted for the 1989 abduction, rape and killing of a teenager has been executed in Missouri, offering no final statement and refused a last minute appeal.
Michael Taylor was 47. His attorney argued for his life on the basis that the drug used to kill him could have caused Taylor inhuman pain and suffering. His execution was witnessed by two clergymen and family members.
A Missouri inmate was executed early Wednesday for abducting, raping and killing a Kansas City teenager as she waited for her school bus in 1989, marking the state’s fourth lethal injection in as many months.
Taylor was pronounced dead shortly after midnight.As the process began, he took two deep breaths before closing his eyes for the last time. There were no obvious signs of distress.
His victim was 15-year-old Ann Harrison who was abducted by Taylor and Roderick Nunley. The men pulled her into their stolen car, took her to a home, then raped and fatally stabbed the girl.
The debate over the death penalty has been further stirred, with opinions such as this editorial from the Kansas City Star arguing against the penalty and saying Missouri is playing a dangerous and callous game:
While attention has centered on Missouri’s nefarious methods of obtaining execution chemicals, the state has been pushing the limits of decency and legality in another respect.
Legal experts and judges have rebuked the state for its hurry.
“Missouri violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the long litany of cases warning Missouri to stay executions while federal review of an inmate’s constitutional challenge is still pending,” 8th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Kermit Bye wrote after the Nicklasson execution.
With stunning arrogance, one of Attorney General Chris Koster’s deputies, David Hansen, told a legislative committee that his office was responding to a strategy of death row inmates to file enough motions for stays of executions to outlast the time spans of death warrants.
That’s not the attorney general’s call. The courts decide when the appeals process has run its course. If Koster is concerned about an inmate’s defense team prolonging the process, he can petition the U.S. Supreme Court to refuse to accept further motions.
Missouri is playing a callous and dangerous game. Its next execution date, for former Kansas Citian Michael Taylor, is Wednesday. If Gov. Jay Nixon continues to refuse to declare a moratorium on executions, the state must at least show respect for the judicial process.