Following the execution of Leon Taylor this week, the ninth in Missouri this year, the National Coalition Against the Death Penalty (NCADP) had strong words for state officials. The NCADP director Diann Rust-Tierney said:
With the backdrop of Ferguson, it’s astonishing that Governor Nixon can fail to take seriously real and justified concerns with racial fairness in Leon Taylor’s execution and others that have already taken place. [the Governor] should use his office to grant clemency in a case such as this, where we can’t be confident that the process was conducted with the highest integrity.
Among other concerns in this case, Mr. Taylor, an African-American, was convicted by an all-white jury, after the prosecutor was able to eliminate all prospective blacks from the jury pool.
Taylor had become an active member of the prison Christian community and a role-model to other inmates. In his final statement, Taylor again apologized to the victim’s family and thanked his family for their love and support.