The State of Missouri is getting ready to execute Leonard Taylor tonight , February 7 2023. According to court documents Leonard Taylor was responsible for the murders of his live in girlfriend Angela Rowe and her three children. After the four murders Leonard Taylor would flee to California where he was later arrested. Leonard Taylor would be convicted and sentenced to death for the murders. However Leonard Taylor has always insisted on his innocence and has claimed that he was already in California visiting his daughter when the four murders took place. According to Missouri law the State has a 24 hour period to execute Leonard Taylor starting at 6pm tonight.
Leonard Taylor was executed on February 7 2023 by lethal injection
Leonard Taylor Execution More News
Gov. Mike Parson confirmed the state will carry out the execution of 58-year-old Leonard Taylor on Tuesday.
A letter from NAACP President Derrick Johnson sent to the governor questioned the evidence used to convict Taylor and asked Parson to spare his life.
“The state of Missouri has the life of a man on its hands,” Johnson said. “On behalf of the NAACP, I am asking you to stop the execution of Mr. Taylor.”
Taylor was sentenced to death by lethal injection after being found guilty in a 2004 quadruple homicide in St. Louis. According to prosecutors, Taylor fatally shot his girlfriend Angela Rowe and her three children. He then fled to California.
Taylor insists he was in California to visit a daughter at the time of the murders and has maintained his innocence throughout his 15-year incarceration.
Parson responded with a press release affirming that Taylor will be executed.
The governor said Taylor’s conviction to death has been upheld by several different courts. The statement shares that Parson acknowledges Taylors claim to innocence, but fails to overshadow the “gruesome facts” of the homicides. He states Taylor’s sentence is about justice.
“The State of Missouri will carry out Taylor’s sentences according to the Court’s order and deliver justice for the four innocent lives he stole,” Parson said.
If Parson stays true to his statements, Taylor would be the third execution by the state of Missouri in the past three months.
Missouri currently ranks fifth in number of executions by a state since 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
There are currently more than 30 religious and civil rights groups also against the execution of Taylor. They wrote to prosecuting attorney Wesley Bell requesting him to reconsider his decision to ask a state judge for another hearing. They say Bell has “a clear opportunity to free an innocent Black man”.
Bell made the decision on Jan. 30 that “the facts are not there to support a credible case of innocence.”
Taylor is set be executed via lethal injection within a 24-hour period beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Leonard Taylor Execution
Leonard “Raheem” Taylor, who was convicted in a 2004 quadruple murder but maintained his innocence, died by lethal injection Tuesday night at a prison in eastern Missouri. Taylor, 58, was executed at the state prison in Bonne Terre. Karen Pojmann, of the Missouri Department of Corrections, said the lethal drug pentobarbital was administered to Taylor at 6:07 p.m. He was pronounced dead roughly nine minutes later at 6:16 p.m
In his final written statement, Leonard Taylor said Muslims don’t die but live on “eternally in the hearts” of family and friends. “Death is not your enemy, it is your destiny,” he wrote in part of the statement. “Look forward to meeting it. Peace!”
Leonard Taylor has long maintained that he was in California when his girlfriend, Angela Rowe, and her three children — Alexus Conley, 10, AcQreya Conley, 6, and Tyrese Conley, 5 — were killed. All were found dead in their suburban St. Louis home on Dec. 3, 2004. Initially, investigators said the victims had been killed no more than a few days before they were discovered. But at trial, St. Louis County medical examiner Phillip Burch changed the estimated time of death to a two or three-week window based in part on the cool temperature in the house. Lawyers for Taylor have argued that there is evidence Rowe and her children were still alive at the time Taylor was in California. A forensic pathologist hired by the defense also issued a finding on Jan. 25 challenging the conclusions on their time of death.
Among those who witnessed Taylor’s execution on Tuesday were nine of the victims’ family members. Gerjuan Rowe, older sister to Angela Rowe, said she believed “justice was served” by the state. In a statement, the Midwest Innocence Project said Leonard Taylor was unjustly “killed by the very system that should have protected him.” “Since the moment of his arrest, Mr. Taylor proclaimed his innocence, loudly and for all who would hear. Yet no one — not the police, not the prosecutor, not the attorneys charged with defending him — seriously investigated that claim of innocence,” the group wrote.
In recent weeks, attorneys for Leonard Taylor highlighted new information in an effort to halt his execution. Groups such as the Innocence Project and Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty also threw their support behind Taylor. Gov. Mike Parson denied his clemency request on Monday, saying Taylor “brutally murdered” the victims.
“The evidence shows Leonard Taylor committed these atrocities and a jury found him guilty,” Parson said. “Despite his self-serving claim of innocence, the facts of his guilt in this gruesome quadruple homicide remain.” In the days leading up to the execution, two petitions before the Missouri Supreme Court were denied. The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. In a docket entry, the high court rejected a stay of execution. Taylor’s lawyers also asked the Missouri Supreme Court to direct a prison warden to let his spiritual advisor be with him in the execution chamber.
Megan Crane, co-director of the MacArthur Justice Center’s Missouri office in St. Louis, said Taylor was “wrongfully executed” despite a “credible claim of innocence” that was not heard or evaluated by any court of law. She also noted the state carried out the death sentence as there was an open legal claim that his religious rights were violated by the state. “This is an undeniable and irreversible injustice,” Crane said. “But, in the words of Raheem, he will ‘live eternally in the hearts of family and friends.’” Protesters gathered across the state to express opposition to capital punishment. Demonstrations were organized in St. Louis, Columbia, Kansas City, Jefferson City, Columbia and Bonne Terre.
“I’m a Christian by faith, and I just don’t think that killing is the right thing,” said Jared Sloan, 67, an Independence minister, who carried a sign on Tuesday that read: “Thou shalt not kill.” “It’s immoral for the state of Missouri to take on itself the right to execute and kill people.” Susie Roling, a social worker and director of operations at Journey to New Life, a prison re-entry program based in Kansas City, said there is no evidence that demonstrates the death penalty is a deterrent against crime. “The worst of the worst in our country are not put to death,” Roling said. “It’s oftentimes the poorest of the poor.” Furonda Brasfield, an Arkansas attorney and director of leadership with the Eighth Amendment Project, which seeks to end the death penalty, said Taylor’s case represents “a travesty of justice.” She pointed to the case of Ladell Lee, an Arkansas man executed in 2017, among the cases where states have pressed on with carrying out a death sentence despite standing claims of innocence. “These types of things happen all the time. And these states have got to slow down. They have to be less bloodthirsty and just stop and fully explore these claims of innocence,” Brasfield said. In the past 10 weeks, Missouri has executed three people. Amber McLaughlin died Jan. 3, and Kevin Johnson died Nov. 29. All three were convicted in St. Louis County, which has the sixth highest number of executions in the U.S., at 20. It trails four counties in Texas and one in Oklahoma, according to the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C. Parson has now denied clemency to two people who claimed they were innocent and consequently that they were wrongly sentenced to die. The first was Walter Barton, who was tried five times for the killing of a woman in Ozark. The Innocence Project, the Midwest Innocence Project and the MacArthur Justice Center urged Parson to appoint a board to investigate Barton’s innocence claims, which included dubious blood splatter evidence and an incentivized jailhouse informant. Barton was executed in May 2020.