Missouri carried out the execution Tuesday night of a man convicted of raping and murdering a 15-year-old Kansas City girl in 1989, KMBC (Kansas City) is reporting.
Roderick Nunley’s execution had been scheduled for 6:00 P.M. (Central Time) Tuesday night, but last-minute appeals pushed the execution back until 9:00 P.M. He was put to death by lethal injection, a process that in at least one other instance has resulted in a condemned man (Clayton Lockett of Oklahoma) dying in agony over the course of nearly an hour. Nunley, however, died peacefully after about ten minutes.
In March 1989, according to MSN, Nunley and another man – Michael Taylor – were driving around when they spotted 15-year-old Ann Harrison waiting for her school bus near her home in Kansas City. She was about 20 yards from her front door. Nunley and Harrison, high on cocaine and driving a stolen car, decided on the spur of the moment to abduct the girl. They then took her to Nunley’s mother’s home, where they raped and sodomized her, then stabbed her with kitchen knives.
The men put her body in the trunk of their stolen car, then abandoned it. Her body was found three days later.
Nunley was convicted in 1991 and sentenced to death by execution after pleading guilty to the crime. His accomplice, Michael Taylor, also pleaded guilty and was executed last year.
Nunley would then sit on death row at a Missouri prison for the next 25 years as his appeals process was carried out – a fact not lost on retired detective Pete Edlund, one of the police officers who investigated Harris’ murder.
“If somebody had told me it was going to take 25 years to get them executed, I would have said, ‘You are out of your mind.'”
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster also took notice of the long delay between Nunley’s sentencing and execution.
“Despite openly admitting his guilt to the court, it has taken 25 years to get him to the execution chamber. Nunley’s case offers a textbook example showing why society is so frustrated with a system that has become too cumbersome.”
Nationwide, capital punishment is falling out of favor as a means of punishing criminals, and 19 states have no enforceable death penalty laws on the books, according to Wikipedia. The remaining 31 states may have such laws on the books, but executions are rarely carried out in them. In fact, of the 20 executions of criminals this year, all but four have been in Texas and Missouri.
[Image courtesy of Missouri Department of Corrections via MSN]