05/31/2019: "Sentencing for Taylor Set For July 8"
(Kevin Taylor, center, hears verdict -Island Guardian photo)
(UPDATED 06-03-19) On Friday afternoon the jury in the Kevin P. Taylor murder trial returned a verdict of guilty of felony murder in the second degree, and guilty of arson in the second degree.
The prosecution and defense presentations to the jury were a contrast of how the case against Kevin Taylor could be viewed, and how each side believed the submitted evidence supported their view.
The prosecution’s closing argument to the jury was focused on the night of the murder, based on the events and supporting evidence that the assault, while not premeditated, was committed with full knowledge and awareness by Taylor.
They argued that Taylor’s actions were fueled by alcohol, and possibly by anger that his wife may have said she was leaving him.
The defense argued the jury should take into consideration if Taylor had the capacity to understand what he was doing at the time because of his documented recurring mental disorders related to epilepsy and rage episodes that, according to the expert witness for the defense, caused psychotic behavior that lead to abnormal perceptions and actions.
The prosecution’s expert witness said that Taylor’s actions before and after the event showed him to be aware of his actions, and with an understanding of what he did. The prosecuting attorney pointed out that after Taylor attacked his wife, he twice called 911, but did not talk to the 911 operator, and then “still angry” went outside and set his wife’s Jeep on fire.
The prosecution introduced notes and comments made by Taylor right after the murder, including stating to a responding deputy that his wife “was going to divorce me. I couldn’t let that happen”.
There was no evidence that indicated Julie Taylor had said, or planned, to file for a divorce.
Julie Taylor had started to video record Mr. Taylor when he showed unusual behavior, and was doing so on the night she was attacked.
On the video Taylor accuses Julie of poisoning him, and states he is going to die, and Julie asks him “what are you talking about?”
Taylor leaves the room to smoke a cigarette. Clearly upset by his statements, Julie states she “cannot do this anymore” and that she needs someone to help her.
Taylor quickly returns, and then the recording ends as he apparently attacks Julie.
The prosecution stated Julie Taylor was stabbed at the base of the neck, then beat with a rifle so violently that the weapon broke into a number of pieces.
In response to the argument that Taylor displayed normal behavior before and after the attack, the defense stated a person with psychosis can perform normal “reflexive actions” even when experiencing a diminished mental capacity while in, or after, a psychotic episode.
After Taylor was arrested he was taken to the local hospital, and at one point he asked “where is Julie? She should be here.”
Taylor had a documented history of seizures (including one while in jail prior to the trial), and when Taylor’s son was informed his mother was dead, and his father was under arrest, he reportedly said that his father “must have had a seizure.”
The expert witness for the defense stated that when a person is in a psychotic state they can be paranoid and delusional.
After the closing arguments the judge sent the jury off to determine a verdict.
Sentencing has been set for July 8th at 1:30 pm. Murder in the second degree is considered a class A felony, and maximum penalties is life in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.
The public will be allowed to address the court prior to the court determining the sentence.