A federal judge on Monday denied four motions for a stay of execution filed by a convicted Kansas City killer who is scheduled to be put to death early Wednesday.
By TONY RIZZO
The Kansas City Star
The motions filed on behalf of Michael Taylor raised four different issues that defense attorneys said merited a halt to the execution. Taylor is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for the 1989 kidnapping, rape and murder of 15-year-old Ann Harrison.
Attorneys for Taylor immediately filed notice Monday morning that they will appeal the rulings to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Later Monday afternoon, they filed a new request with the 8th Circuit for a stay of execution.
Taylor’s lawyers then filed another motion for a stay of execution with the Missouri Supreme Court. The attorneys said that stay request should be granted because Taylor has a pending motion asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider his case.
One of the stays denied Monday by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips was sought for the same reasons. Taylor and other Missouri death-row inmates are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider issues surrounding Missouri’s lethal-injection protocol.
However, Phillips ruled Monday that in order to grant the stay, Taylor would have to show there is a “reasonable probability” that the Supreme Court would take the case. She ruled that Taylor had not made that showing.
She also denied Taylor’s stay request based on the argument that the state’s recent employment of a new pharmacy to supply the lethal-injection drug changes the state’s written protocol and violates his right to due process.
Phillips ruled that the state may have changed the pharmacy but that did not constitute a change in the protocol. Again, as with the Supreme Court issue, she found that Taylor had not shown there was a likelihood he would prevail in the case.
The third stay request alleged that in the state’s last three executions, the inmates had “viable” stay proceedings pending when they were put to death. Phillips denied the motion because she found that its filing was unnecessarily delayed.
She also found that Taylor had not presented any new arguments that would warrant a different ruling than those that denied stays for the last three executions.
In their motion filed later Monday appealing that ruling, Taylor’s lawyers argued that Phillips had erred in her decision.
Taylor’s fourth motion for a stay that was denied Monday involved allegations that his original attorneys provided ineffective counsel at the time of his original guilty plea and sentencing in 1991.
In another ruling Monday, the 8th Circuit denied Taylor’s request for a hearing by the full court on his request to appeal a previously closed case. A three-judge panel previously had denied Taylor’s effort to open that appeal.
The issue in that case involved Taylor’s argument that he should have been allowed to have a jury determine his sentence instead of a judge. Two 8th Circuit judges said they would have allowed the appeal.