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Missouri Executes Leon Taylor For 1994 Slaying Of Gas Station Attendant

A man who killed a suburban Kansas City gas station attendant in front of the worker’s young stepdaughter in 1994 was put to death early Wednesday — the ninth execution in Missouri this year.

Leon Taylor, 56, was pronounced dead at 12:22 a.m. at the state prison in Bonne Terre, minutes after receiving a lethal injection. With Taylor’s death, 2014 ties 1999 for having the most executions in a year in Missouri.

Taylor shot worker Robert Newton to death in front of Newton’s 8-year-old stepdaughter during a gas station robbery in Independence, Missouri. Taylor tried to kill the girl, too, but the gun jammed.

Taylor’s fate was sealed Tuesday when Gov. Jay Nixon declined to grant clemency and the U.S. Supreme Court turned down his appeal.

Taylor, his body covered by a white sheet, could be seen in the execution chamber talking to family members through the glass in an adjacent room. Once the state started injecting 5 grams of pentobarbital, Taylor’s chest heaved for several seconds then stopped. His jaw went slack and he displayed no other movement for the rest of the process.

Four of Taylor’s family members sat in a room to his left and looked on without reaction as the drug killed Taylor in about eight minutes. At a time when executions have gone awry in Oklahoma, Ohio and Arizona and taking an extended period to kill an inmate, Taylor’s execution went off without any visible hitches or complications with the drug or equipment.

 

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