A Missouri man was executed Tuesday night for killing his girlfriend and her three young kids in 2004 — after he said he was looking forward to “meeting” death in his chilling last words.
Raheem Taylor, 58, was pronounced dead at 6:16 p.m. after receiving a lethal injection at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, the Missouri Department of Correction told UPI.
“Muslims don’t die. We live eternally in the hearts of our family & friends,” he said in the final statement. “From Allah we come & to Allah we all shall return.
“Everybody will get their turn to die. Death is not your enemy, it is your destiny. Look forward to meeting it. Peace!” he added.
Taylor, who previously went by the first name Leonard, kicked his feet as the 5 grams of pentobarbital were administered, then took several deep breaths before he stopped moving.
He had long claimed he was in California when Angela Rowe, her daughters Alexus Conley, 10, and AcQreya Conley, 6, and son Tyrese Conley, 5, were killed in 2004.
Taylor’s supporters included the national NAACP, multiple civil rights and religious groups, and the Midwest Innocence Project – but his innocence claims were repeatedly rejected.
Last week, Democratic St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell turned down Taylor’s request for a hearing before a judge, stating that the “facts are not there to support a credible case of innocence.”
On Monday, the Missouri Supreme Court denied a stay request and Republican Gov. Mike Parson declined to grant clemency.
After the execution, Angela’s sister Gerauan Rowe said she still struggles with the loss.
“I’m at a point in my life right now — I’m OK but I’m not,” she said. “But I know justice was served. It’s kind of hard trying to move forward, but I think I can do it.”
Taylor, who lived with Angela Rowe and the children in the St. Louis suburb of Jennings, boarded a flight to California on Nov. 26, 2004.
On Dec. 3, that year, police were sent to the home after worried relatives said they hadn’t heard from Angela, who was found dead along with her children. All four had been shot.
A medical examiner initially found that the killings likely happened within a few days of the discovery of the bodies — when Taylor was in California.
But during the trial, Medical Examiner Phillip Burch said the killings could have happened two or three weeks before the bodies were found.
Taylor’s attorney Kent Gipson said that several people saw Angela alive in the days after Taylor left St. Louis.
Meanwhile, Taylor’s daughter in California, Deja Taylor, claimed she and her dad called Angela and one of the kids during his visit.
But Bob McCulloch, who was St. Louis County’s elected prosecutor at the time of the killings, said Taylor’s claim of innocence was “nonsense,” and that the supposed alibis were “completely made up.”