In the days after Michael Taylor was executed for his part in the murder of a 15-year-old girl in 1989, the state is working to lift barriers to the execution of his accomplice.

Roderick Nunley (courtesy; Missouri Department of Corrections)

Roderick Nunley (courtesy; Missouri Department of Corrections)

Taylor and Roderick Nunley participated in the abduction of Ann Harrison and her subsequent rape and murder. Nunley was also sentenced to death and in December his attorneys were asked to give the Supreme Court reason why it shouldn’t set his execution date.

Their primary argument is that he has had a stay in place for more than 3 years in the U.S. District Court in Western Missouri, stemming from an appeal of his death sentence. The Attorney General’s Office has challenged that stay.

Nunley’s attorneys have also asked the court to consider his pending request for the right to appeal a rejected habeas corpus petition, and his role as a plaintiff in a pending court challenge to Missouri’s execution protocol. The four men executed since November were also plaintiffs in that case.

Nunley’s attorneys also maintain that the way those executions were carried out violated state and federal law.

Missouri’s next scheduled lethal injection is that of Jeffrey Ferguson on March 26. Like Nunley and Taylor, Ferguson was sentenced to death for a 1989 murder; that of 17-year-old Kelli Hall in St. Louis County.