The man who killed a Blue Springs man in a gas-station robbery 20 years ago has been scheduled to die.
The Missouri Supreme Court on Thursday set a Sept. 10 execution day for Leon Taylor.
Taylor, now 56, was convicted in the April 1994 murder of Robert Newton, who was working at a Phillips 66 station on Missouri 291 in Independence.
Taylor and his half-sister and half-brother went to the gas station. They bought some gas and discussed whether to rob the station. They held off because Newton’s 8-year-old step-daughter was with him.
They left but then had car trouble – the oil light had come on – and went back, this time robbing the station of about $400. Taylor took Newton and the girl to a back room, and the girl later testified that Newton pleaded with Taylor not to kill them.
Taylor shot Newton at nearly point-blank range, one round to the forehead, with a 9 mm handgun. Then he aimed at the girl, but his gun jammed. He locked her in the room.
The half-brother and half-sister came to plea agreements with prosecutors and testified at Taylor’s 1995 trial that they were in the car at the time of the shooting, and that Taylor came out and tried to unjam the gun, saying he had to go back in and kill the girl. However, the three left.
The girl also testifed at the trial.
A Jackson County jury convicted Taylor first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, first-degree assault and three counts of armed criminal action but deadlocked on whether to sentence him to die. The judge imposed the death sentence. Taylor was later granted a new penalty phase of his trial and was again sentenced to death.
– From Examiner and Associated Press reports