Under the state protocol, 47-year-old Taylor will receive his last
meal and be dressed in simple gray pants and a T-shirt and socks
before being escorted to the death chamber.
The execution would mark Missouri's 72nd since 1976 and the second
this year. State officials are under fire for executing other
inmates before their last appeals are exhausted.
In a series of recent appeals, attorneys for Taylor have sought a
stay of execution based on several claims, including that the drugs
used for lethal injection could subject him to a slow and tortuous
His attorneys also argue that when Taylor pleaded guilty in 1991 he
should have been offered a life sentence instead of death, or at
least a sentencing by a jury instead of a judge.
And Missouri should allow appeals to be exhausted before they
proceed with the execution, they say.
The state has been criticized by death penalty opponents and a
federal judge for not waiting for rulings on appeals before carrying
out recent executions.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit had not completed
its review of Allen Nicklasson's request for a stay based on a
challenge to Missouri's lethal injection drug protocol when he was
put to death December 11.
Eighth Circuit Judge Kermit Bye said in a written ruling after
Nicklasson's execution that Missouri's actions should undergo
intense judicial scrutiny.
Bye questioned Missouri's secrecy over the use of a lightly
regulated compounding pharmacy to obtain drugs for executions, and
for proceeding with an execution before the federal courts had
finished reviewing an active request for a stay.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has defended the state's
actions and said in a statement that Taylor has had more than enough
time to file appeals on any issue and his sentence has been upheld
repeatedly by the Missouri Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court.
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"It is ridiculous to suggest that Mr. Taylor should avoid his
execution by filing a flood of new paperwork ...," Koster said.
Taylor was nearly executed in 2006 before a late court-ordered
reprieve after revelations about problems with the state's lethal
injection practices at that time.
If his execution is carried out it would come 25 years after he and
an accomplice raped and stabbed to death 15-year-old Ann Harrison, a
Kansas City-area school girl. The men abducted her from a bus stop
and terrorized her before putting her in a car trunk and killing
Linda Taylor, Michael Taylor's mother, issued a statement with other
family members stating Taylor has great remorse for his crime. The
family does not want to see Taylor executed and Linda Taylor has
said that life in prison should be sufficient punishment.
Janel Harrison, mother of Ann Harrison, said the execution is needed
justice for her daughter.
"There should be an ultimate penalty," Harrison said.
(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City;
editing by Richard Chang)
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