Executions in Missouri
Lisha Gayle, a former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter, was robbed and murdered in 1998, and her killer is currently on Missouri's death row.
The justices said inmate Mark Christeson should get a chance to argue that his court-appointed attorneys were ineffective. It is uncommon for someone to be executed without a federal appeals court hearing.
Williams is scheduled to die on Jan. 29 in Missouri's first execution of the new year after 10 inmates were put to death in 2014.
The two men were put to death using the same three drugs used during Oklahoma's botched execution in April.
The execution would be Missouri's first in 2015, after a state record 10 inmates were put to death this year.
The execution began at 1:17 a.m. Wednesday, more than an hour after it was scheduled because of Supreme Court appeals.
Paul Goodwin, 48, faces lethal injection early Wednesday morning for killing 63-year-old Joan Crotts inside her St. Louis County home in 1998.
Taylor is the ninth man put to death in Missouri this year and the 11th since November 2013.
The court rejected two appeals without comment, although justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan would have voted to grant a request dealing with a challenge to the way Missouri carries out executions.
Leon Taylor is scheduled to die by injection at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for killing a gas station attendant during a robbery in 1994. Taylor, who is black, was sentenced to death by an all-white jury.
Taylor's lawyers have asked the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to grant a stay and have requested clemency from Nixon.
Taylor's execution, which would be the ninth in Missouri this year, is set for Wednesday Nov. 19.
Attorneys for Leon Taylor, who is black, argue that he was sentenced by an all-white jury and that there is concern about prosecutor misconduct during his trial.
The state Supreme Court on Thursday scheduled the execution of 47-year-old Paul Goodwin for Dec. 10. Missouri has executed eight men already in 2014, with the execution of Leon Taylor scheduled for Nov. 19.
The stay will remain in place until the court decides whether to hear Mark Christeson's appeal.
Executions continue because of reliable access to execution drugs, strong state-level support for capital punishment and conservative federal judges who regularly deny inmates' requests for stays.
Mark Christeson was scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday in 1998 killings; justices cited concerns his legal counsel was ineffective.
Fifteen former judges filed a brief Friday claiming Mark Christeson was denied federal court review because his court-appointed attorneys missed a deadline in 2005.
Jesse Driskill, of Lebanon, contends he didn't receive a fair trial because of complications from his anxiety and panic attacks.
Leon Taylor had been scheduled for execution in September, but the court withdrew that execution warrant after his lawyers argued for more time to work on his case.
It would be the ninth execution in Missouri this year and the 11th since November.