U.S. Supreme Court denies appeal of Mo. inmate

Monday, April 21, 2008

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned down the lethal injection appeal of convicted murderer Michael Taylor of Kansas City.

Taylor was one of 10 death row inmates who lost their appeals Monday. The ruling came in the wake of the high court's decision last week upholding the constitutionality of lethal injection.

It's unclear whether Taylor can mount a new appeal to stop his execution.

The court's decision last week left the door open to challenging lethal injection procedures in states where problems with administering the drugs are well documented.

Attorneys for Taylor asked the Supreme Court to hear his case last fall after the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against him.

Taylor's attorneys said at the time his was the first case of its kind to reach the Supreme Court after being fully litigated and reviewed on appeal.

Taylor was one of two men sentenced to die for the kidnapping, rape and killing of 15-year-old Ann Harrison, who was taken from just outside her home in Kansas City while waiting for a school bus in 1989.

He came close to being executed in February 2006, but his challenges to Missouri's lethal injection procedures halted his and other executions in the state.

Missouri hasn't executed an inmate since convicted killer Marlin Gray was put to death in October 2005.

A federal district judge in Kansas City ruled in 2006 that Missouri's execution procedures violated constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

But last June, a panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling, and the full court refused to take up the matter.

Last August, the St. Louis-based federal appeals court lifted a more than year-old stay on executions in Missouri. The ruling cleared the way for the Missouri Supreme Court to set execution dates for Taylor and other condemned inmates sought by Attorney General Jay Nixon.

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