The state of Missouri has executed a man convicted of murdering his girlfriend and three children after a last-minute appeal to the Supreme Court.
Leonard Taylor, 58, was found guilty of murdering Angela Rowe and her three daughters, Alexis Conley, 10. Acqreya Conley, 6; and Tyrese Conley, 5, born in November 2004 at their home in Jennings, Missouri.
As Taylor was given 5 grams of pentobarbital, he took five or six deep breaths before becoming immobile.
Taylor said in a final statement that Muslims do not die but “live on forever in the hearts of our family and friends.”
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“Death is not your enemy, it is your destiny. Wait to meet it. Peace!” Taylor wrote.
A spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Corrections said Taylor’s last meal consisted of “a seafood platter with shrimp, french fries, a cheeseburger, cheesecake and vanilla ice cream.”
Taylor claimed he was in California when the four men were killed, and was not in Missouri when the bodies were found. He boarded a flight to California on November 26, 2004.
Four bodies were found on December 6, 2004, after relatives told police they had not heard from Rowe recently.
While a medical examiner initially found the deaths likely within days of the discovery of the bodies, while Taylor was in California, medical examiner Philip Burch said the murders occurred two to three weeks after the bodies were discovered. Could have been earlier.
Her attorney, Kent Gipson, said several people saw Rowe after Taylor left for California. Deja Taylor, Taylor’s daughter who lived in California, said in a court filing that she called Rowe to be with her father while he was there. Deja Taylor’s sister and mother also corroborated her story, according to court filings.
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Bob McCulloch, the St. Louis County prosecutor at the time of the murder, said the alibis provided by Deja Taylor and other relatives were “completely fabricated.”
McCulloch said Rowe and her children were likely killed on Nov. 22 or Nov. 23 while Taylor was still in St. Louis, noting that Rowe had not texted or called since Nov. 23. While she usually makes 70 outgoing calls or texts. per day.
Taylor’s brother told police he confessed to the crime, a relative who drove Taylor to the airport saw Taylor throw the gun down the drain, and when he was arrested, Taylor’s glasses were covered in blood, prosecutors said. Roe’s DNA was found.
Taylor was found guilty on February 29, 2008, of four counts of first-degree murder.
Jeroen Rowe, sister of Angela Rowe, said justice had been served after the execution.
“I’m at a point in my life right now — I’m fine but I’m not,” she said. “But I know justice has been done. It’s kind of hard trying to move on, but I think I can do it.”
Republican Gov. Mike Parsons on Monday declined to issue a pardon to Taylor, saying the facts of the “crime” remained.
“Despite his self-proclaimed innocence, the facts of his guilt in this horrific quadruple homicide remain,” Parsons said. “The state of Missouri will carry out Taylor’s sentence as ordered by the court and provide justice for the four innocent lives he stole.”
National NAACP President Derek Johnson wrote a letter urging Parsons to stay the execution, writing that “the evidence presented at trial does not support Mr. Taylor’s conviction.”
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay the execution after a request by Gipson, who also filed a petition for an injunction with the Missouri Supreme Court, which was denied.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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