Missouri executes Leon Taylor, who shares written statement before death

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BONNE TERRE, Mo. — A man who killed a suburban Kansas City gas station attendant in 1994 has been put to death — the ninth execution in Missouri this year.

Fifty-six-year-old Leon Taylor was executed early Wednesday. 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 an April 1994 gas station robbery in Independence, Missouri. Taylor tried to kill the girl, too, but the gun jammed.

Taylor left a written statement that read:

Ms. Astrid, Ms. Sarah, I am truly sorry that our lives had to entwine so tragically. I pray that the Lord will give you peace and continue to comfort you in His love.
Family, thank you for being here with me, I love you all, and my attorneys, you are truly loved and deeply appreciated.
I am also sorry to have brought all of you to this point in my life to witness this and/or participate.
May God bless, keep and love you all while keeping you in His ever-loving care.
Stay strong and keep your heads to the sky.
In His love,
Leon.

Taylor’s fate was sealed Tuesday when Gov. Jay Nixon declined to grant clemency and the U.S. Supreme Court turned down his appeal. Among other concerns, Taylor’s attorneys argued that race played a role in his death sentence. Taylor was black and was sentenced by an all-white jury.

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