Missouri Dept. of Corrections
Despite calls from the activists and the NAACP, Leonard “Raheem” Taylor, 58, was executed by the state of Missouri on Tuesday evening (Feb. 7).
The Kansas City Star reports Tayor was executed with the lethal drug pentobarbital, administered at 6:07 p.m. He was pronounced dead at 6:16 p.m. The Missouri Attorney General’s office barred Taylor from having a spiritual advisor or any other requested guests he wanted nearby him at the death chamber. Taylor issued a final statement, which read:
“O you who believe! Seek assistance through patience and prayer. Surely Allah is with the patient and do not speak of those [Muslims] who are slain in Allah’s way as dead; nay, (they/we are) alive, but you do not perceive [their life and strength]. Holy Qur’an Surah 2:153-154
Muslims don’t die, we live eternally in the hearts of our family and friends. From Allah we come and to Allah we all shall return. Everybody will get their turn to die. Death is not your enemy, it is your destiny. Look forward to meeting it. Peace!”
According to the Star, on Nov. 26, 2004, Taylor says that he flew to Los Angeles, California, to meet his daughter. Eight days later, the bodies of Angela Rowe, 28, her three children, Alexus Conley, 10; and AcQreya Conley, 6; and son Tyrese Conley, 5, were found shot to death in the home they shared with Taylor.
A murder weapon was never found there and there were no eyewitnesses. Autopsies revealed Rowe and her children were killed two to three days before the bodies were found. However, at trial, a medical examiner from St. Louis County claimed that based on the temperature in the home, the mother and her children were murdered two to three weeks before the bodies were found.
Taylor and his attorneys have been fighting this claim from the medical examiner for years. An affidavit signed by forensic pathologist Jane Turner, said rigor mortis had set in, which wouldn’t be present after seven days when the victims were discovered. This suggests Taylor could not have committed the crimes because he had left for California eight days prior.
Also, an appeal contended that Taylor did leave for California on Nov. 26, confirmed by flight information from Southwest Airlines, but the bodies were discovered on December 3. Taylor’s daughter, then 13, said in a sworn statement that he called Rowe from their location in California.
Prosecutors relied heavily on Perry Taylor, Leonard Taylor’s brother (who died in 2015), who said that Taylor confessed to him that he killed Rowe and her children. However, Perry recanted at the trial and Kent Gipson, Taylor's lawyer, said police threatened Perry with prison time if he didn’t say his brother was the killer. Gipson also said neighbors saw Angela Rowe alive after Taylor left for California.
The day before the execution, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson denied clemency for Taylor, calling his claim of innocence “self-serving.”
After the execution, Gerjuan Rowe, one of Angela Rowe’s sisters who supported the execution, told reporters, “Justice is served.”
With Taylor’s execution, Missouri has now put three people to death in as many months.
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