Death row inmate executed for 1989 rape and murder of 15-year-old KC girl

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A man who has been on death row for the kidnapping, rape and murder of high school freshman 26 years ago, was finally put to death about three hours after he was originally scheduled to be executed Tuesday evening.

Roderick Nunley, 50, was originally scheduled to be executed around six o'clock on Tuesday for the 1989 murder a 15-year-old Ann Harrison. His execution was put on hold though, after his attorneys filed a "petition for writ of habeas corpus," with the United States Supreme Court around 5:30 on Tuesday. The petition claimed Nunley's right to council may have been violated  because of an "incurable conflict of interest" involving the attorney who has been representing Nunley.

Roderick Nunley

Roderick Nunley

About three hours later, Nunley was executed by lethal injection just minuets before 9 p.m. on Tuesday at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri. He was pronounced dead at 9:09 p.m.

According to a spokesman of the Missouri Department of Corrections, Nunley's last meal was a steak, shrimp, chicken strips, salad and a slice of cheesecake.

Gov. Jay Nixon provided the following statement which was read by Department of Corrections Director George A. Lombardi:

"Tonight, as we remember Ann Harrison, our thoughts and prayers are again with Bob and Janel Harrison, and the other members of Ann’s family. The acts of violence that took this 15-year-old who was full of life and promise away from her loved ones can never make sense to us," read Lombardi. "The two men who were found guilty of Ann’s kidnapping, rape and murder have now had their sentences carried out. But even as there is judicial closure tonight, we know that a Missouri family will always miss and grieve the young woman who has been gone for more than 26 years. We grieve with them.
So, I ask that Missourians join me in keeping the family of Ann Harrison in their thoughts and prayers tonight."

Nunley did not provide a final statement.

Nunley's co-defendant Michael Taylor was executed last year. The men were found guilty of kidnapping Harrison while she waited for her school bus at 67th and Booth on Kansas City's east side in 1989. Taylor and Nunley later raped and killed her.

According to a news release from Missouri Governor's Office sent out just before 8 p.m Tuesday, while the execution was put on hold, Gov. Jay Nixon released a statement regarding his decision to deny the petition for clemency made on behalf of Nunley:

"I have received from my counsel a final briefing on the petition for clemency from Roderick Nunley, which has been reviewed in detail. After deliberate consideration of its merits and the facts of this case, I have denied this petition. As Governor, this is a power and a process I do not take lightly. Each instance involves a very specific set of facts, which must be considered on its own.

On the morning of March 22, 1989, 15-year-old Ann Harrison was waiting for the school bus at the end of the driveway of her Raytown home when she was abducted, raped, and then stabbed to death by Roderick Nunley and Michael Taylor. The capital punishment sentence given to Taylor for his role in these brutal crimes was carried out last year. Nunley also pleaded guilty to these heinous crimes and was sentenced to death. My decision today upholds this appropriate sentence.

I ask that Missourians remember Ann Harrison at this time and keep her parents, Bob and Janel Harrison, and the Harrison family in your thoughts and prayers."

Also around 8 p.m. the Missouri Attorney General's Office said Judge Samuel Alito issued an order dening Nunley's application for a stay of execution, as well as the petition for writ of habeas corpus.

Ann Harrison was kidnapped while waiting in her driveway for t he school bus on the morning of March 22, 1989.

Ann Harrison was kidnapped while waiting in her driveway for t he school bus on the morning of March 22, 1989.

Earlier in the day FOX 4's Monica Evans spoke to Pete Edlund, a retired Kansas City Missouri police detective, who says his squad cracked the case and that Nunley's execution is long overdue.

"It was a horrific murder on top of raping and sodomizing her. They took their time and struggled with trying to kill her and the whole time she was begging for her life," said Edlund.

Michael Taylor

Edlund says the delay in justice for Ann Harrison was mainly legal wrangling and if it were up to him, both would've been executed shortly after they were sentenced to death more than two decades ago.

"They ended up sticking a seven inch serrated knife through her neck and then twisting it on top of slicing and stabbing her in the stomach it was ugly," said Edlund.

Edlund says Taylor and Nunley took away everything Harrison would have become.

"He needs to meet his maker because he doesn't deserve to suck the same air that you and I do,” said Edlund.

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