BONNE TERRE, Mo. — A Missouri man convicted of killing his girlfriend and three young children was executed Tuesday despite claiming he was in another state when the murders occurred.

Raheem Taylor, 58, was the third Missouri inmate to be executed since November at Bonne Terre State Prison. It was the country’s fifth execution this year, following a previous execution in Missouri, two in Texas and one in Oklahoma. All were by lethal injection.

Taylor kicked her feet as the 5 grams of pentobarbital was administered, then took five or six deep breaths before all movement ceased. In a final statement, Taylor said that Muslims do not die but «live eternally in the hearts of our family and friends.»

“Death is not your enemy, it is your destiny. We look forward to meeting you. Peace!» she wrote in the statement.

A Missouri man convicted of killing his girlfriend and three young children was executed Tuesday despite claiming he was in another state when the murders occurred.  Taylor, 58, was the third Missouri inmate to be executed since November at Bonne Terre State Prison.
Raheem Taylor, a Missouri man executed Tuesday. Missouri Department of Corrections / AP

Taylor, formerly Leonard, has long maintained that he was in California when Angela Rowe, his 10-year-old daughter, Alexus Conley, his 6-year-old daughter, AcQreya Conley, and his 5-year-old son, Tyrese Conley. they were assassinated in 2004. His supporters included the national NAACP, nearly three dozen civil rights and religious groups, and the Midwest Innocence Project.

But Taylor’s claims of innocence were rejected time and time again. St. Louis County Attorney Wesley Bell, a Democrat, last week denied Taylor’s request for a hearing before a judge, saying «the facts are not there to support a credible case of innocence.»

Republican Gov. Mike Parson refused to grant clemency Monday, the same day the Missouri Supreme Court rejected a request for a stay. Earlier Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court refused to intervene.

Gerauan Rowe, Angela Rowe’s sister, said after the execution that moving on remains difficult, more than 18 years after she lost her sister, nieces and nephew.

«I’m at a point in my life right now: I’m fine, but I’m not,» she said. “But I know that justice was served. It’s a little hard trying to move on, but I think I can do it.»

There was no question that Taylor was not in Missouri when the bodies were found. What is not known for certain is when the family was killed.

Taylor and Angela Rowe lived with the children in a house in Jennings, a suburb of St. Louis. Taylor boarded a flight to California on November 26, 2004.

On December 3, 2004, police were dispatched to the home in Jennings after concerned family members said they had not heard from Rowe. Officers found the bodies of Rowe and her children. All four had been shot.

The initial finding by a medical examiner was that the murders likely occurred within days of the discovery of the bodies, when Taylor was in California. But at Taylor’s trial, coroner Phillip Burch said the murders could have occurred two to three weeks before the bodies were discovered.

Taylor’s attorney, Kent Gipson, said several people, including Rowe’s relatives and a neighbor, saw Rowe alive in the days after Taylor left St. Louis. Meanwhile, Taylor’s daughter in California, Deja Taylor, claimed in a court filing that she and her father called Angela Rowe and one of the children during her visit. The court record said Deja Taylor’s mother and sister corroborated her story.

Bob McCulloch, who was the St. Louis County prosecutor-elect at the time of the murders, said Taylor’s not guilty plea was «baloney» and that the alibis provided by his daughter and her relatives were «completely fabricated.» .

McCulloch told The Associated Press that evidence suggested Rowe and the children were killed on the night of November 22 or 23, while Taylor was still in St. Louis. He noted that Rowe typically made about 70 calls or text messages each day. As of November 23, she hasn’t done any.

Meanwhile, DNA from Rowe’s blood was found on Taylor’s glasses when he was arrested, a relative who took him to the airport saw Taylor throw a gun down the drain, and Taylor’s brother told police Taylor admitted to the crime. crime, McCulloch said. Authorities believe Taylor shot Rowe during a violent argument and then killed the children because they were witnesses.

The three recent executions in Missouri involved cases outside of St. Louis County. Kevin Johnson was executed in November for killing a police officer in 2005. Amber McLaughlin was executed on January 3 for killing a woman in 2003. It was believed to be the first execution of a transgender woman in the US.