JENNINGS, Mo. – Three men wrongfully convicted of murder hoped to spare the life of a man who’s on Missouri’s death row for one of the most appalling crimes in the St. Louis area.
It’s been more than 18 years since a woman and her three children were murdered at their home in Jennings. The man convicted of killing them, Leonard Taylor, 58, is scheduled to die by lethal injection next Tuesday.
Joshua Kezer from Columbia, Missouri, has teamed up with Detroit residents Kenneth Nixon and Marvin Cotton. They’ve all been exonerated of murder convictions after serving lengthy prison terms.
“We cannot execute an innocent man,” Cotton said.
They are rallying around Taylor’s cause. Taylor was convicted of the 2004 shooting deaths of Alexus Conley, 11, her sister AcQreya Conley, 7, their brother Tyrese, 5, and their mother, Angela Rowe, 28. Taylor was Rowe’s live-in boyfriend.
Relatives celebrated his 2008 conviction and death sentence with no doubt about his guilt. Supporters claimed that there is conflicting evidence regarding the timing of the murders, which has never been resolved. They point out that the bodies were discovered days after Taylor left the St. Louis area, albeit traveling under a fake name.
“This is evidence that’s known, that the medical examiner changed the time of death from 2 days to 8 days so that it could fit the case,” Kezer said.
“Eight days from now, there may be no Leonard Taylor based on someone’s intentional wrongdoing. There’s no fairness in that,” Nixon said.
“Everybody’s talking about what they can’t do, while this man is sitting in a prison cell with death approaching every day,” Cotton said.
The three met with St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell on Tuesday morning. While his office has found “no credible case of innocence,” it has also written the Supreme Court of Missouri in support of Taylor’s request to delay his execution for a review of his alibi claim.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson is also reviewing Taylor’s request for clemency.