A man convicted of kidnapping, raping, and murdering a 15-year-old Missouri girl from the Kansas City area more than a quarter-century ago was executed last night, becoming the state's sixth person to be put to death this year, the AP reports. The lethal injection for Roderick Nunley, 50, began a couple of minutes before 9pm and he was pronounced dead about 10 minutes later, per KBMC. Nunley—who St. Louis Radio reports requested a final meal of steak, shrimp, chicken strips, salad, and cheesecake, per a prison rep—had no one from his camp witness his death and made no final statement, though he met with his daughter and a spiritual adviser earlier in the day, the AP reports. The father of Ann Harrison, abducted in March 1989 by Nunley and Michael Taylor while waiting for her bus 20 yards from her front door, attended the execution, as did her uncle and two family friends, the AP notes. Taylor was executed last year.
Some blame drawn-out appeals and an inefficient system for the executions' lengthy delay. "Nunley's case offers a textbook example showing why society is so frustrated with a system that has become too cumbersome," Missouri's AG said in a statement after the execution, per the AP. A retired Kansas City detective who tells KCTV the stalling was a "travesty" also told the AP this week "the delay in executing these two is just nuts because it didn't have anything to do with their guilt. It was legal mumbo-jumbo nonsense." After the execution, Ann's parents released a statement, per KCTV, that said, "Will the execution of Roderick Nunley and Michael Taylor bring a sense of closure for us and our younger daughters? We don't know," though they conceded "if this is the only form of closure we receive, then we will gladly take it." (A woman hopes the pope will ask for clemency for her son on death row in Texas.)