Man executed in Missouri for 1989 rape and murder of high school girl

Feb. 26, 2014 at 2:05 AM
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BONNE TERRE, Mo., Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A man who admitted the 1989 rape and murder of a high school student was put to death early Wednesday in Missouri.

Michael Taylor was executed after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a last-minute request for a stay, the Kansas City Star reported. Earlier in the day, Gov. Jay Nixon rejected Taylor's bid for clemency.

Taylor and a co-defendant, Roderick Nunley, who is awaiting execution, pleaded guilty to the abduction, rape and murder of Ann Harrison, 15, of Kansas City. Taylor told the Star in a phone call Tuesday that he had written a letter to the high school freshman's family expressing his remorse and had been promised they would be given the opportunity to accept it.

Missouri, like many other states, has changed its execution protocol because of a shortage of the drugs that had been used. Taylor is the fourth person executed using pentobarbital, which became the state's drug in November.

Taylor's family released a statement thanking those who have supported him.

"It may be a small victory for the state of Missouri but Michael has won in the end," the family said. "He has struggled for years with the guilt of not stopping a horrendous crime, and has dedicated much of his time in prison to the memory of Ann Harrison through his work with hospice, tutoring and mentoring inside and outside the prison walls. Those heartfelt accomplishments will accompany him into the gates of Heaven where he will be joined by his family and beloved angel."

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