Missouri Executes Man Who Claimed Innocence Till the End

Raheem Taylor was convicted of killing his live-in girlfriend, her 3 kids
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 8, 2023 8:39 AM CST
Missouri Executes Man Who Claimed Innocence Till the End
Raheem Taylor.   (Missouri Department of Corrections via AP, File)

A Missouri man convicted of killing his live-in girlfriend and her three young children was executed Tuesday despite his claims that he was in another state when the killings occurred. As the AP reports, Raheem Taylor, 58, was the third Missouri inmate put to death since November at the state prison in Bonne Terre. It was the nation’s fifth execution this year. Taylor kicked his feet as the 5 grams of pentobarbital were administered, then took five or six deep breaths before all movement stopped. In a final written statement, Taylor said Muslims don’t die, but "live eternally in the hearts of our family and friends. ... Death is not your enemy, it is your destiny. Look forward to meeting it. Peace!"

Taylor long maintained that he was in California when Angela Rowe, her 10-year-old daughter Alexus Conley, 6-year-old daughter AcQreya Conley, and 5-year-old son Tyrese Conley were killed in 2004. His supporters included the national NAACP, nearly three dozen civil rights and religious groups, and the Midwest Innocence Project. There was no question that Taylor was not in Missouri when the bodies were found. What isn’t known for certain is when the family was killed.

Taylor boarded a flight to California on Nov. 26, 2004; the bodies of Rowe and her children were found on Dec. 3, 2004. A medical examiner initially said the killings likely happened within a few days of the discovery of the bodies, but at trial, Medical Examiner Phillip Burch said the killings could have happened two or three weeks before being found. Taylor’s attorney, Kent Gipson, said that relatives of Rowe and a neighbor saw Rowe alive in the days after Taylor left the St. Louis area; Taylor’s daughter in California claimed in a court filing that she and her father called Angela Rowe during his visit.

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Bob McCulloch—St. Louis County’s elected prosecutor at the time of the killings—said Taylor’s claim of innocence was "nonsense" and his alibis "made up." McCulloch told the AP Rowe typically made around 70 outgoing calls or texts each day. Starting Nov. 23, she made none. He said DNA from Rowe’s blood was found on Taylor’s glasses when he was arrested and Taylor’s brother told police that Taylor admitted to the crime. Authorities believe Taylor shot Rowe during a violent argument, then killed the children because they were witnesses. Republican Gov. Mike Parson declined to grant clemency on Monday, the same day the Missouri Supreme Court denied a stay request. Earlier Tuesday, the US Supreme Court declined to intervene.

(More capital punishment stories.)

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