Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ann Harrison

The execution of a convicted murderer has been delayed, but not canceled.
Now, a group of people is making a last-ditch effort to save the life of Michael Taylor, who was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a Kansas City teenager.

In 1989, Ann Harrison was kidnapped while she waited for the school bus. Her body was found several days later in the trunk of a stolen car, where she was left after being stabbed to death.Taylor and his friend, Roderick Nunley, both confessed to kidnapping, raping and stabbing Harrison.

Both men were sentenced to die for their crimes.A rally on Taylor's behalf was held Wednesday evening at Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church. The group, which included Taylor's friends and family, wants the legal process to halt Taylor's execution, and they hope the community will join them in opposing the death penalty in all cases."What sense does it make to take a life to show that taking a life is wrong or killing is wrong," said George Taylor, Michael's father.

"If he were to get life without parole, it would ease some of our aches and pains -- we'd be able to visit with him and talk with him."Linda Taylor, Michael's mother, said there may be some reasons -- but no excuses -- for what happened to Harrison.

"Somewhere along the line, as Michael got older, he got into drugs," Linda Taylor said."Everything was just, pretty much haywire," Michael Taylor told KMBC in 2003.Wednesday, Michael Taylor talked to KMBC's Peggy Breit via telephone from his holding cell in Bonne Terre Prison, which is south of St. Louis.Michael Taylor said he desperately wants the Harrison family to know how sorry he is.

"I've never forgotten her. I've always prayed for forgiveness. I've changed myself a whole lot," Michael Taylor said. "I can't take this back -- I wish I could. I wanted them to understand I'm very sorry. This shouldn't have happened."Taylor's supporters said they feel they have some legal legs to stand on in their fight to stop the execution. Taylor's Feb. 1 death date is on hold because of a federal court hearing later in the month.
But some people hope Taylor's case brings other issues to the forefront, such as the disproportionate number of black inmates who are sentenced to death. "Jackson County pled much more egregious cases than this for life without parole," said John William Simon, Taylor's attorney.While the fight to stop the death penalty continues, Michael Taylor said he knows his time is running out. 
He said he is ready for either a reprieve or his execution."I've sort of situated myself, I guess, to be prepared or to deal with it try to stay focused," Michael Taylor said. "I don't want to die. I know I have a punishment that is coming, but I believe that when I meet my maker or (when I'm) judged, that he'll forgive me and understand where I'm coming from."Breit reported that the argument that will be heard in federal court in February is that the cocktail of drugs used to kill an inmate isn't effective and that it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a similar case that happened in Florida.


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