Missouri’s fourth execution in a little more than three months is scheduled for tonight.
Michael Taylor’s 15 year old victim, Ann Harrison, would have celebrated her 40th birthday last Saturday. But Taylor and another man facing execution kidnapped her while she waited for a Kansas City bus, raped her, and stabbed her about forty times, and left her body in the trunk of a car.
Taylor’s lawyers are hoping to block the execution with a flurry of appeals, many targeting the Corrections Department’s secrecy about how it is getting the drug it hopes to use tonight. Corrections Director George Lombardi says the supplier of the drug is a secret, by law, and steps are taken to keep it that way. “That process has been the same since the Ashcroft administration,” he tells the Senate Appropriations Committee. The department paid the source of the pentobarbital used in the most recent execution $8,000, cash. An Oklahoma pharmacy that some reports say compounded the drug used in executions has never admitted being the supplier. But it says it is not the source of the drug the department plans to use tonight. The department says it has found a new, in-state, supplier.
State senator Dan Brown, a veterinarian, doubts pentobarbital causes any pain, as critics claim. He says it was the main anesthetic used for surgery when he began his career forty years ago. Brown says he uses it to put animals to sleep–that no pet owner wants to see a pet suffer. And he says they don’t. “This is an anesthetic overdose for all intent and purpose,” he says.
Co-defendant Roderick Nunley remains under a death sentence. The Missouri Supreme Court has not set an execution date for him.