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   BONNE TERRE, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri inmate was executed early Wednesday for abducting, raping and killing a Kansas City teenager as she waited for her school bus in 1989, marking the state's fourth lethal injection in as many months.
   Michael Taylor, 47, was pronounced dead shortly after midnight. Federal courts and the governor had refused last-minute appeals from his attorneys, who argued that the execution drug purchased from a compounding pharmacy could have caused Taylor inhuman pain and suffering.
   Taylor offered no final statement. He mouthed silent words to his parents, two clergymen and two other relatives who witnessed his death. As the process began, he took two deep breaths before closing his eyes for the last time. There were no obvious signs of distress.
   His victim, 15-year-old Ann Harrison, was in her driveway — carrying her school books, flute and purse — when she was abducted by Taylor and Roderick Nunley. The men pulled her into their stolen car, took her to a home, then raped and fatally stabbed the girl as she pleaded for her life.
   Nunley also was sentenced to death and is awaiting execution.
   In their appeals, Taylor's attorneys questioned Missouri's use of an unnamed compounding pharmacy to provide the execution drug, pentobarbital. They also cited concerns about the state executing inmates before appeals were complete and argued that Taylor's original trial attorney was so overworked that she encouraged him to plead guilty.
   After using a three-drug execution method for years, Missouri switched late last year to pentobarbital. The same drug was used in three previous Missouri executions, and state officials said none of the inmates showed outward signs of distress.
   Still, attorneys for Taylor said using a drug from a compounding pharmacy, which unlike large pharmaceutical companies are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, runs the risk of causing pain and suffering during the execution process.
   The Oklahoma-based compounding pharmacy Apothecary Shoppe agreed last week that it wouldn't supply the pentobarbital for Taylor's execution, which left Missouri to find a new supplier. But Attorney General Chris Koster's office disclosed that a new provider had been found. Koster refused to name the pharmacy, citing the state's execution protocol that allows for the manufacturer to remain anonymous.
   Taylor's attorneys said use of the drug without naming the compounding pharmacy could cause the inmate pain and suffering because no one could check if the operation was legitimate and had not been accused of any violations.
   Pete Edlund doesn't want to hear it. The retired Kansas City police detective led the investigation into the teenager's death.
   "Cruel and unusual punishment would be if we killed them the same way they killed Annie Harrison," Edlund said. "Get a damn rope, string them up, put them in the gas chamber. Whatever it takes."
   Ann stepped out of her home the morning of March 22, 1989, to wait in her driveway for her school bus.
   Authorities said Nunley and Taylor, then in their early 20s, drove past in a car they had stolen after a night of binging on crack cocaine. One of the men jumped out of the car and grabbed Ann, forcing her into the vehicle. Both claimed the other did it.
   The men drove to the home of Nunley's mother. Ann was forced into the basement and raped — DNA testing linked Taylor to the crime. Afraid she would be able to identify them, the men used kitchen knives to stab the girl 10 times, including in her throat and torso, as she begged for her life.
   She offered money if they would let her live. She died about 30 minutes later, according to the medical examiner.
   The stolen car was then driven to a nearby neighborhood and abandoned, with Ann's body in the trunk. She was found the next day. But the crime went unsolved for about six months until a $10,000 reward led to a tip, and Taylor and Nunley were both arrested, Edlund said. Both pleaded guilty and were sentenced to death.
   The case left even veteran officers traumatized, Edlund said.
   "She just turned 15," the retired detective said. "It was a tragedy all the way around. This was an innocent child."
 
Published in Local News
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 16:23

Missouri officials mum on death drug

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The head of the Missouri Corrections Department is remaining silent on whether the state has enough of its execution drug to carry out next week's scheduled lethal injection.
 
Director George Lombardi told the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday that he couldn't comment on the state's drug supply. But he did say the state cannot stockpile pentobarbital produced by a compounding pharmacy because of its shelf life.
 
The Oklahoma-based Apothecary Shoppe agreed this week to not supply the drug to Missouri for its next execution.
 Michael Taylor is scheduled to die Feb. 26 for the abduction, rape and murder of a 15-year-old Kansas City girl. Gov. Jay Nixon has said the department is prepared to carry out the execution.
 
Republicans on the Senate committee said it's important to impose the death penalty.
 
Published in Local News

   A compounding pharmacy in Oklahoma won't be the one providing Missouri with a made-to-order drug for an upcoming execution.  Court documents filed Monday show that death row inmate Michael Taylor has reached an agreement with The Apothecary Shoppe in Tulsa.  Under the deal, the pharmacy won't prepare or provide pentobarbital or any other drug for use in Taylor's execution.  

   Taylor's attorney, Matt Hellman, says the pharmacy has not already provided any such drug to the Missouri Department of Corrections for Taylor's execution which is scheduled for February 26.

   Missouri Corrections officials have said Taylor's execution will go on as scheduled, but it's not clear where the state will get the necessary drug for lethal injection, or if the state already has enough pentobarbitol on hand for the task. 

   Taylor has pleaded guilty to the 1989 abduction, rape and murder of a 15 year old Kansas City girl.

Published in Local News

   A federal judge agreed late Wednesday to temporarily block an Oklahoma pharmacy from providing an execution drug to the Missouri Department of Corrections for use in an upcoming lethal injection.

   The temporary restraining order was issued after a federal lawsuit was filed in Tulsa by Missouri death row inmate Michael Taylor. His attorneys said the department contracts with The Apothecary Shoppe in Tulsa to provide compounded pentobarbital, the drug set to be used in Taylor's execution on Feb. 26.
   The lawsuit argued that several recent executions involving the drug indicate it would likely cause Taylor "severe, unnecessary, lingering and ultimately inhumane pain."
   In his order Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Terence Kern wrote that Taylor's attorneys submitted "facts demonstrating that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to plaintiff before defendant can be heard in opposition."
   The judge set a hearing for Tuesday and ordered the pharmacy to submit a response to the injunction by Friday. He said the order would remain in effect at least until the hearing.
   But it wasn't immediately clear if the execution would be delayed because of the ruling. The state has not revealed the name of the compounding pharmacy supplying the drug, and The Apothecary Shoppe previously declined to confirm or deny that it was the source of a drug used in an earlier Missouri execution.
   A pharmacy spokeswoman did not return telephone calls seeking comment late Wednesday. Phone and email messages were also left with the Missouri Department of Corrections and the Missouri Attorney General's Office.
   Taylor, 47, pleaded guilty in the 1989 abduction, rape and stabbing death of a 15-year-old Kansas City girl.
   One of Taylor's attorneys, Matthew Hellman of the Washington, D.C., law firm Jenner & Block, said the lawsuit focuses attention on the drug used in Missouri's lethal injections and the laws regarding compounding.
   "We're gratified the court entered the order," Hellman said after the Wednesday order. "This lawsuit is about an unacceptable option in carrying out the death penalty and this is why we're seeking to stop The Apothecary Shoppe from providing this unlawful drug."
   Missouri corrections officials turned to The Apothecary Shoppe to supply compounded pentobarbital after manufacturers of the drug refused to provide it for lethal injections, according to the lawsuit.
   In January 2012, a Danish company that had produced pentobarbital under the trade name Nembutal sold the exclusive rights to the drug to an American company, Akorn Inc., on the condition that Akorn not sell the drug for use in executions.
   "Those manufacturers do not want medication to be used for executions," Hellman said.
   Taylor's lawsuit questions whether the pharmacy can legally produce and deliver compounded pentobarbital. It says the pharmacy is not registered as a drug manufacturer with the Food & Drug Administration and alleges it violates federal law each time it delivers the drug across state lines to Missouri corrections officials.
   Along with asking for a temporary restraining order, the lawsuit seeks an injunction barring the pharmacy from delivering "this unidentified, unregulated, untested and unsafe pharmaceutical product." Hellman declined to say whether The Apothecary Shoppe also sells compounded pentobarbital to states other than Missouri.
   Several recent executions that involved compounded pentobarbital indicate use of the drug will subject Taylor to "inhumane pain," the lawsuit says.
   One such execution was that of Oklahoma death row inmate Michael Lee Wilson, 38. Within 20 seconds of receiving the lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary on Jan. 9 Wilson said: "I feel my whole body burning." The lawsuit alleges the statement describes "a sensation consistent with receipt of contaminated pentobarbital."
   The lawsuit also sites an Oct. 15, 2012, execution in which South Dakota death row inmate Eric Robert, 50, cleared his throat, gasped for air and then snored after receiving the lethal injection. His skin turned a purplish hue and his heart continued to beat for 10 minutes after he stopped breathing. It took 20 minutes for authorities to finally declare Robert dead.
   "These events are consistent with receipt of a contaminated or sub-potent compounded drug," the lawsuit says.
   Use of the same drug in Taylor's execution could result in a similar reaction, Hellman said.
   "It is extremely disturbing," he said.
   On Monday, Missouri Corrections Department Director George Lombardi told a legislative panel that the agency pays for the drug to be independently tested to make sure it works and is sterile. He also said the agency had found no substantial issues in a background check of its current supplier.
   Lombardi did not release the name of the pharmacy that provides the drug, saying Missouri could not carry out lethal injections if that information were released. He said the state pays $8,000 in cash to the pharmacy for the drug.

 

Published in Local News

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