Update: Wednesday, November 19, 2014  1:40 am EST



Leon Taylor was executed shortly after 12:01 am CST, on Wednesday, November 19, 2014, by the state of Missouri.  Read the full story here.


Update: Monday, November 17, 2014  12:04 pm EST


Leon Taylor is scheduled to be executed at 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 convicted of 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 was scheduled to be executed earlier this year, on September 10, 2014.  That execution date was withdrawn by the Missouri Supreme Court.  The Missouri Supreme Court has not announced its reason for withdrawing Leon’s execution date, although the decision to do so came days after Leon’s attorneys filed documents stating that the would not have enough time to work on the case prior to the execution.


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.


Leon Taylor was denied a request for a stay of execution  by a three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.  Leon argued that his sentence should be commuted to life in prison because, during the sentencing phase of his trial, his jury could not decide agree on his fate.  After the first jury failed to come to an unanimous decision, a second jury was convened.  Leon argues that other defendants who had undecided juries were given life in prison without the possibility of parole.  Leon's attorney is expected to appeal this decision.


Please pray for peace and healing for Sarah Yates and the family of Robert Newton.  Please pray for strength for the family of Leon.  Please pray that Leon may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.