Lawmakers debate death penalty methods hours after state’s latest execution

Posted March 13, 2014 at 11:30 am

by Steven Anthony

Just hours after Missouri executed its fourth inmate in as many months, a Springfield Republican lawmaker said he wants to bring greater transparency to the execution process.

Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, introduced a bill that would bring the execution process out of secret. Burlison said much of the controversy surrounding Missouri and the death penalty shouldn’t have happened.

“A lot of this could’ve been avoided if this process and the decisions that were made were not done in secret,” Burlison said.

Early Wednesday morning, Missouri executed Michael Taylor, who was convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering a teenage girl in Kansas City in 1989. Like the other inmates Missouri executed in recent months, Taylor was executed with pentobarbital, but this time, a different pharmacy provided the drug.

Attorney General Chris Koster refused to name the pharmacy, citing the execution team’s anonymity.

Burlison said Missouri’s process must be out in the open for the public to see.

“I think that whatever our process is, it’s a process that we should trust, and that it’s a process that should be open to the public,” Burlison said. “And if it’s not open to the public, then I think that people in general are losing their faith in government.”

The committee took no action on the bill.