In 2004, Raheem Taylor flew to California to see his teenage daughter. Days later, his girlfriend and her children were found dead. It was all pinned on him.
A medical examiner changed the time of their deaths to implicate Taylor. Police threatened his brother with prison time if he didn’t say Taylor confessed to committing the murder.
In 2023, Taylor’s daughter flew to St. Louis to support her father’s alibi and confirm that the victims were alive long after he had traveled out of state. But that didn’t matter. On February 7, he was executed.
Under this system, incarcerated people can still be executed while legal action is pending, like the critical evidence bypassed in Taylor’s case. And to add to this cruelty, Taylor wasn’t even allowed to have his spiritual advisor or other visitors with him the day he died.
Still, Taylor was calm until the end. In his last statement, he wrote, “Everybody will get their turn to die. Death is not your enemy, it is your destiny. Look forward to meeting it.”
The time for this country to dictate Black destinies is over. The prison system itself must meet its death.