"Satan's Demons" Defense Fails; Man Convicted Of Killing Brother
Date 2014/3/14 4:38:52 | Topic: News
|CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — A suburban St. Louis man who testified he was influenced by "Satan's demons" has been convicted of killing his brother after an argument that started over dirty dishes.|
Calvin Benard Taylor, 41, was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Paul "Ricky" Taylor.
Paul Taylor, 48, was a postal worker found dead in his home in the 900 block of Chesswood Drive near Florissant on July 20, 2010. Co-workers at the post office in Richmond Heights had become concerned that the normally conscientious worker failed to show up for work two days in a row.
Paul Taylor had been shot to death three days earlier after an argument that started over dirty dishes and Calvin Taylor's laziness, according to testimony. The two brothers lived together.
After the shooting, Calvin Taylor fled in his brother's car but later turned up in a Mississippi jail for peace disturbance. He had been wearing only boxer shorts and shouting outside a church. He confessed to the murder to police in two states, authorities say.
According to Calvin Taylor, he grabbed a gun and forced Paul Taylor to sit in a computer chair in his bedroom for half an hour as Calvin Taylor listed everything he didn't like about the way he was treated. Then, he forced Paul Taylor onto the floor, hog-tied his hands and ankles behind his back with tape, rope and phone cord. For another half an hour, Calvin Taylor complained about the way Paul Taylor treated him. Paul Taylor told his brother he would go to prison for a long time because of this and said he couldn't believe it was going to end like this. That's when Calvin Taylor admits he shot him twice in the back and fled.
On the witness stand Wednesday, Calvin Taylor admitted killing his brother and said Satan's demons made him do it. He told the assistant prosecutor, Tom Dittmeier, that he wouldn't understand because Dittmeier wasn't a believer. Calvin Taylor had already told his lawyers he wouldn't plead to a lesser charge because he wanted to tell his story in court.
The jury deliberated about an hour. Circuit Judge David Lee Vincent III will sentence Calvin Taylor on April 25. The sentence is mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole. His defense attorney, Sara Serot, had asked jurors to consider second-degree murder instead.
As the case was working its way to trial, Calvin Taylor underwent psychiatric evaluations, but there was no mental health diagnosis. Relatives said he was faking a mental illness.
"It was selfish of Calvin to think he was going to get a slap on his wrist and be free," said his sister, Marie Taylor-Sani of Houston, Texas. "He started playing this cuckoo role. He's very clever, but he wasn't clever this time."
Taylor-Sani said Calvin Taylor was manipulative and had been trouble for years, causing his elderly mother stress when he lived with her in Clarksville, Miss. That's why Paul Taylor intervened and brought Calvin to St. Louis to live with him at the home on Chesswood a few years before the murder Taylor-Sani said.
"Paul had a good heart," Taylor-Sani said.
Taylor-Sani said her brother Paul Taylor was likely frustrated that Calvin Taylor, a former house painter, was wasting time playing violent video games while Paul Taylor worked. Paul belittled Calvin about a messy house, and Calvin was upset about a woman. That sparked the violent altercation that led to the shooting with Paul Taylor's own gun, she said.
"Calvin's always been a fighter," Taylor-Sani said. "He had a temper. You get him riled up, you had a fighter on your hands."
Paul Taylor worked for about 15 years at the Richmond Heights post office on Big Bend Boulevard. He also had served in the Marines. Monica Jeanis, a friend and co-worker of the victim, said people in the post office who worked with Paul Taylor heard about his troubles with his brother but never heard him express any fear.
"It was more of a nuisance," Jeanis said. "He tried to keep things calm and keep him out of trouble, for his mother's sake."
He couldn't keep his younger brother out of trouble for long, though. Shortly after moving here, Calvin was charged with unlawful use of a weapon in 2008 in St. Louis County. He pleaded guilty and was put on five years' probation.
A retired letter carrier, Jack Cody, attended the trial for two days and heard Calvin's testimony about the devil. "I couldn't believe 'the devil made me do it' was being used as a defense for murder," Cody said. After the verdict, Cody added: "Paul got a little bit of justice after 3½ years."
Ruby Taylor, the mother of both men, stayed home in Mississippi this week rather than attend the murder trial. She declined to comment on the case, saying "Both are my children, and I know God will (decide). We reap what we sow."
Taylor-Sani said the church is keeping the family strong. "If my mom didn't have the church and God on her side, this would have taken her over," she said. "I have to forgive Calvin, but I can't forgive what he's done."
Michael Harty, a fellow letter carrier who trained Paul Taylor for his job in the mid 1990s, said he can still remember Taylor's infectious laugh and work ethic. "He always gave 110 percent and then some," Harty said. "I think that came out of his Marine training."