Victim's father says latest death penalty ruling delays justice for his son


by Adrianna Hopkins

Posted on December 3, 2009 at 12:52 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 3 at 12:52 AM

One of Kentucky's most notorious killers has spent a quarter of a century on death row. But the state could further delay Victor Taylor's execution, after the state Supreme Court ruled the protocol for lethal injection is illegal.

Which has prompted some Kentuckians to ask Governor Steve Beshear to stop all executions.

Victor Taylor's face has changed over the last 25 years he's spent on death row. But the faces of his victim's Scott Nelson and Richard Stephenson are frozen in time. Taylor brutally murdered them when the two Trinity High School students were 17 years old.

He was sentenced to death. It's a fate Scott Nelson's father, Emery, has waited over two decades to see happen. Emery Nelson now lives in Florida.

"I'm hoping to make a trip back to Kentucky someday real soon and be able to attend his execution," he said.

In Nelson's case, Taylor has appealed his conviction over and over again delaying his execution. He's currently 25% through his last appeal. But, just last week the state Supreme Court ruled Kentucky's lethal injection protocol are illegal.

The Governor can't sign any death warrants for executions until the state formalizes the procedures. Nelson's wait could be even longer. It's something he calls a mockery of our justice system.

"There's about 37 on death row in KY now and they all committed horrible, heinous crimes with other mitigating circumstances they qualify for the death penalty, so they need to be put to death," said Nelson.

And recently, the Governor received a petition for a moratorium on the death penalty.

His office released a statement saying, "Governor Beshear supports the death penalty for violent and heinous crimes and reviews each case to see if extenuating circumstances exist."

But the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty disagrees.

"One violent act never justifies another violent act and it does not mitigate the effects of the first violent act," said Marjorie Grieshop of Harlan, KY.

"It would give me some satisfaction that justice could be finally carried out," said Nelson.

And Nelson says what happened 25 years ago is something he can't escape.

"It's been a thing that stays with you constantly. I guess not a day goes by that I don't think about it. And I know there's not a day that goes by that my wife doesn't think about it," he said.

There are currently 37 people on Kentucky's death row. The last person executed was in 2008. Attorney General Jack Conway just sent the governor three death warrants. But because of the state Supreme Court's ruling, those executions will have to wait.