Update: Wednesday, November 19, 2014  1:34 am EST



Leon Taylor was executed shortly after 12:01 am CST, on Wednesday, November 19, 2014, at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Corrections Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri.  Fifty-six-year-old Leon was executed for the murder of 53-year-old Robert Newton in Independence, Missouri on April 14, 1994.  Leon has spent the last 20 years on Missouri’s death row.


Leon’s mother was an alcoholic who drank while she was pregnant.  She also gave alcohol to Leon to drink as a child and abused him.  Leon alleged that he was sexually abused until the age of five and never taught right from wrong.  As a teenager, Leon suffered from depression.  


Leon Taylor and his half siblings, Willie and Tina Owens, were driving in Tina’s car discussing robbery possibilities.  Taylor suggested the gas station in Independence, Missouri because only one person would be working.  Upon arriving at the station, they discovered that the gas station manager, Robert Newton had his daughter, 8-year-old Sarah Yates, with him that day.  Tina no longer wanted to rob the store.


The trio bought gas and left the station, only to return minutes later because the oil light had come on.  Willie entered the store and asked for some oil.  Taylor then entered and drew a pistol.  He pointed it at Robert and said he would shoot him unless he gave them his money.  Robert handed over approximately $400 to Willie, who then left the store.  


Taylor forced Robert and Sarah into a back room, where he shot Robert in the head.  Taylor attempted to shoot Sarah but the gun jammed.  Taylor locked Sarah in the back room and returned to the vehicle, telling Willie and Tina what had happened.  Robert wanted to return and kill the girl, however Willie and Tina wanted to leave, so all three left. 


Please pray for peace and healing for Sarah Yates and the family of Robert Newton.  Please pray for strength for the family of Leon.  

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