Missouri Supreme Court upholds death sentences for Kansas City murder

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 | 3:59 p.m. CDT; updated 5:43 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 31, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld the death sentences for two men who pleaded guilty to the 1989 kidnapping, rape and stabbing death of a Kansas City girl.

Roderick Nunley and Michael Taylor abducted 15-year-old Ann Harrison as she waited for a school bus near her home. She was raped, bound, stabbed and left in the trunk of a car.

Both men sought to avoid the death penalty by pleading guilty and being sentenced by a judge. In their latest appeals, they cited previous court rulings that the facts needed to impose a death sentence must be decided by a jury, not a judge.

The state's high court rejected that argument Tuesday, saying they made a strategic choice to be sentenced by a judge.

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