Missouri Execution on Hold Pending Court Decisions

FEBRUARY 1, 2006 - Posted at 8:18 a.m. CST

ST. LOUIS, MO - A Missouri Death Row inmate may learn his fate today.

A federal judge in Kansas City is expected to decide today if Missouri's administration of the death penalty is unconstitutional.  Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court is weighing the state of Missouri's request to vacate an inmate's stay of execution.

U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan, Jr. heard two days of testimony on the manner in which executions are conducted in Missouri.  He has been given a noon deadline.

Inmate Michael Taylor of Kansas City could be put to death as early as this week for raping and killing a 15-year-old girl in 1989, if the courts give the go-ahead.

Taylor's attorney is challenging the state's three-drug method of execution, saying it creates a risk of gratuitous pain.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)