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Alito Splits With High Court Conservatives in Missouri Death Penalty Case

New U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has cast his first decision on the nation's highest court, refusing to let the state of Missouri execute a death-row inmate contesting lethal injection.

Alito broke ranks with the court's conservatives late Wednesday, siding with the majority in a six-to-three vote rejecting a last-minute request to allow Missouri to execute Michael Taylor.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas supported allowing the execution to proceed.

Taylor pleaded guilty to kidnapping, raping and murdering a 15-year-old girl in 1989. He has challenged his death sentence by lethal injection as cruel and unusual punishment.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP .