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February 7, 2023

Missouri completes its second execution of 2023

As reported in this local article, "Missouri on Tuesday executed 58-year-old Leonard Taylor, who was convicted of killing his girlfriend and her three children at their home in Jennings nearly two decades ago."  Here are more: 

A state executioner delivered a fatal dose of pentobarbital at 6:07 p.m., and Taylor was pronounced dead a short time later, according to the Missouri Department of Corrections....

Taylor was the third person to be executed in Missouri in three months. His death marked only the second time since 2015 that more than one person was executed in a calendar year.

He was convicted in 2008 of killing 28-year-old Angela Rowe and her three children, Alexus Conley, 10, AcQreya Conley, 6, and Tyrese Conley, 5, at their home on Park Lane in Jennings. He has insisted he is innocent of the killings.

Rowe's older sister, Gerjuan Rowe, attended Tuesday's execution along with eight other loved ones. "Justice was served," Rowe said. "Now, I get a little peace."

Rowe and her children were found Dec. 3, 2004. Rowe was covered by blankets and shot four times, once fatally in the head. The children were also shot and lined up on a bed. Prosecutors said they believed the family was shot on the night of Nov. 23 or early morning of Nov. 24, 2004.

Taylor had called his brother just before midnight, then again at 12:05 a.m. Nov. 24, and admitted to the killings. The brother told police Taylor stayed in the house with the bodies because he was waiting for a letter from his wife in California....

A jury sentenced Taylor to death on Feb. 29, 2008, for the four murders.

Taylor had since filed several appeals, including a request last month asking St. Louis County prosecutor Wesley Bell to hold a hearing to review discrepancies in the state's evidence and consider new declarations from Taylor's daughter and her mother saying Taylor was actually in Los Angeles at the time of the killings. Bell denied that request last week, finding "the facts are not there to support a credible case of innocence."

On Monday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson denied Taylor's petition for clemency. "Leonard Taylor brutally murdered a mother and her three children. The evidence shows Taylor committed these atrocities and a jury found him guilty," Parson said in a statement. "Despite his self-serving claim of innocence, the facts of his guilt in this gruesome quadruple homicide remain."

February 7, 2023 at 09:48 PM | Permalink


Rowe's older sister, Gerjuan Rowe, attended Tuesday's execution along with eight other loved ones. "Justice was served," Rowe said. "Now, I get a little peace."

15 years. It should not have taken this long.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 8, 2023 8:59:08 AM

Missouri does better than a lot of states. 1 year from appeal to oral argument on direct appeal, opinion on direct appeal within six months of oral argument. Collateral review in trial court completed within two years of mandate on direct appeal. Less than 1 year from appeal to oral argument on collateral review appeal. Opinion within two months of oral argument. All told, about nine years from the offense to the end of normal state review. Problem was that it took approximately eight years for federal habeas review. (not counting the 1 year that habeas counsel has to convert the two state appellate briefs into a federal habeas petition and to investigate any claims which motion counsel knew about and failed to raise in the collateral review application). Given the limitations on federal habeas review, it should not take longer for any stage of federal habeas review than it does no state appeal, but the reality is that federal courts do not resolve capital habeas cases quickly regardless of what Congress has said about the need to resolve capital habeas cases quickly.

Posted by: tmm | Feb 8, 2023 1:15:53 PM

agreed, tmm.

Which is why I believe that federal courts should be out of the capital punishment business

Posted by: federalist | Feb 8, 2023 1:42:47 PM

I likewise agree with tmm. His well-informed post shows why the AEDPA needs to be strengthened.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 8, 2023 2:52:14 PM

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