By Stephen Mayer, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KCTV) -
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has requested the Missouri Supreme Court set execution dates for nine men on death row.
According to the website missourideathrow.com, Koster has requested the dates, saying there are no legal obstacles remaining to carrying out the men's sentence.
"Missouri does not know the cost of executions yet we now have 19-plus men waiting execution. We can't find the money in the budget for education, public safety, roads etc. and yet are willing to stay with a public policy that is likely costing the state millions. Missouri would do well to end the death penalty and to focus resources instead on solving more cases of violent crime, taking violent offenders off the streets and providing meaningful support for victims and their families," Kathleen Holmes, state coordinator of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said in a release.
One of the nine men included in the list is Leon Taylor.
Astrid Martin does her best to keep herself busy, still trying to forget what happened to her family nearly two decades ago. 1994 was a very difficult year for her - she lost a mother to cancer and, just a few weeks later, a husband to a bullet at the hands of Taylor. All these years later, Martin still struggles with the grief.
"If you have a tragedy it's not like a push button where you are OK the next day. You are very emotionally sick. I lost my mother and my husband and almost my little girl. That's a big chunk to take away at once," Martin said.
It was April 1994 at a gas station in Independence, MO. Taylor and two others held up Robert Newton, Martin's husband. Even though Newton turned over the cash, Taylor killed him right in front of his step-daughter.
"He said, ‘Listen pal, don't shoot. I got my little girl here and I don't want to see her dead,'" Martin's daughter said while on the stand during Taylor's trial as she recounted what happened.
At Taylor's murder trial, then 8-year-old Sara took the stand and captured the hearts of the entire city.
"I turned around and saw my dad on the floor," Sarah said when an attorney asked what she saw after she heard the big bang.
Taylor then turned the gun on the girl, but the weapon jammed. All these years later, Martin is convinced God was watching over her daughter.
Sarah is now happily married with four kids and her mother wants to thank everyone for the outpouring of support she and her daughter received all those years ago.
"They were so supportive, they were so supportive and, to me they wrote letters for years and I want to thank you all for being so wonderful to us," Martin said.
Martin said Taylor wrote a letter of apology to her and she now forgives what he did, but she said she'll never forget.
There are 46 inmates currently on Missouri's death row.
Dave Dormire, director of the Division of Adult Institutions for the Missouri Department of Corrections, announced a new one-drug protocol (propofol) for lethal injection. This one-drug protocol replaces the three-drug protocol previously used by the state.
This change was necessary, according to Dormire. Sodium thiopental, one of the three drugs previously used in executions, is no longer available.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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