Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has confirmed that the execution of Leonard Taylor will go forward Tuesday.
Taylor was convicted in the 2004 murders of Angela Rowe, his girlfriend, and her three children in the St. Louis area. The 58 year old has maintained that he is innocent and was in California at the time of the fatal shootings.
The governor disagreed.
"Leonard Taylor brutally murdered a mother and her three children. The evidence shows Taylor committed these atrocities and a jury found him guilty. Courts have consistently upheld Taylor's convictions and sentences under the facts and the Missouri and United States Constitutions," Parson said in a statement Monday.
"Despite his self-serving claim of innocence, the facts of his guilt in this gruesome quadruple homicide remain. The State of Missouri will carry out Taylor's sentences according to the Court's order and deliver justice for the four innocent lives he stole."
In recent weeks, Taylor's attorneys have highlighted new information in a push to stop the lethal injection.
Prosecutors in St. Louis County declined to directly intervene, but supported a motion to stay the execution filed Jan. 31 by Taylor's attorneys. That motion was opposed by the Missouri Attorney General's Office, who said delaying the execution "simply frustrates the interests of justice," and was later denied.
The Midwest Innocence Project on Thursday asked the governor to convene a board of inquiry to look into the innocence claims.
A petition remains under review with the Missouri Supreme Court.
On Nov. 26, 2004, Taylor flew to California to meet one of his daughters for the first time.
Eight days later, the bodies of Rowe and her children Alexus Conley, 10, Acqreya Conley, 6, and Tyrese Conley, 5, were found shot in their Jennings, Missouri, home.
The autopsies initially indicated the homicides had taken place two to three days before the bodies were found, which would have eliminated Taylor as the killer.
But at trial, St. Louis County medical examiner Phillip Burch told jurors that the temperature in the house had been in the 50s, which led to the estimated time of death changing. The murders could have taken place two to three weeks before the bodies were discovered - when Taylor would still have been in town.
In an affidavit signed less than two weeks before the execution date, forensic pathologist Jane Turner cast doubt on the medical examiner's determination on the time of death. There was evidence of rigor mortis when the victims were discovered. That would not last more than a week after death even with the cold temperature in the house, according to Turner. Other postmortem changes that would occur a week or more after death were not present.
That meant the condition of the bodies suggested the victims were killed after Taylor left town.
Prosecutors also relied on information from Perry Taylor, who told police his brother had confessed to the killings. Perry Taylor recanted at trial. Policing expert James Trainum said in a Jan. 25 report that the tactics police used during their interrogation of Perry Taylor "were extremely coercive" and have been known to produce false statements.
On Wednesday, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey's office said competing expert testimony was not enough to prove innocence.