JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Supreme Court has canceled an execution for one death row inmate and scheduled a different man to be put to death next month.
The court on Thursday canceled the Sept. 10 execution of Leon Taylor, who was convicted in the 1994 killing of gas station attendant Robert Newton in Independence.
Instead, the high court scheduled a Sept. 10 execution for Earl Ringo Jr. Ringo was convicted of the 1998 double slaying of Columbia restaurant manager JoAnna Baysinger and delivery driver Dennis Poyser.
The court did not say why it rescinded the execution order for Taylor. But its decision came three days after Taylor’s attorneys filed court documents indicating they would not have enough time to work on his case before the execution.
Taylor, 56, was convicted of killing Newton, a Blue Springs resident, in April 1994 at a Phillips 66 station on Missouri 291. He had robbed the station of about $400 and had taken Newton and Newton’s 8-year-old stepdaughter to a back room, where he shot Newton in the forehead. Then he fired at the girl, but his gun jammed.
The girl testified at Taylor’s trial, as did Taylor’s half-sister and half-brother, who also had been in on the robbery and who reached plea deals with prosecutors.
A Jackson County jury convicted Taylor of 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.