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Jury deliberating murder charges

Posted: February 8, 2013 - 3:17pm  |  Updated: February 8, 2013 - 3:27pm
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Yvette Taylor talks to her attorney, Amanda Morris, as District Attorney Ashley Wright gives her closing remarks to the jury in Judge Carl Brown's court. Yvette Taylor, 47, is charged with murder in connection to the February 2012 death of Theodore Crew, 63.   Photo By Jim Blaylock
Photo By Jim Blaylock
Yvette Taylor talks to her attorney, Amanda Morris, as District Attorney Ashley Wright gives her closing remarks to the jury in Judge Carl Brown's court. Yvette Taylor, 47, is charged with murder in connection to the February 2012 death of Theodore Crew, 63.

 

A Columbia County jury is deliberating the guilt or innocence of a Martinez woman accused of killing her roommate last year.

Yvette Taylor, 47, is charged with murder in the February 2012 death of Theodore Crew, 63.

The trial began Wednesday. Prosecuting and defense attorneys gave closing arguments Friday morning and the jury began deliberations at about noon.

Taylor called 911 early Feb. 11, 2012, stating her “friend was dead.”

Crew was found nude inside the bathroom of his home in Applecross Apartments. Blood was found on a chair and around it in the floor and walls in the living room and on the floor and walls down the hallway to the bathroom. The bathroom floor, where Crew was found, was wet with water and bleach, but little blood.

Taylor’s attorney, Amanda Morris, said the investigators “targeted” Taylor early as an easy suspect.

“Why should the police thoroughly investigate a case because they’ve already picked out an easy target,” Morris said during her closing arguments. “The most important part of this investigation is what was not done.”

Morris said investigators did “sloppy police work” by not collecting and testing all of evidence they should have. They didn’t send samples of blood from all spattered walls, floors and other surfaces to be tested and didn’t fingerprint front and bathroom door knobs. Testing of that and other evidence could have led to the identification of a suspect other than Taylor, Morris said.

District Attorney Ashley Wright said Crew’s death was a very personal and passionate crime and referred to the idea of a stranger, an intruder, as the killer as “preposterous, fanciful, ridiculous and unsupported by evidence.

Taylor initially told investigators that she left the apartment she shared with Crew at about 1 a.m. and spent the night at her mother’s nearby home. She said she found Crew dead in the bathroom several hours later.

“How convenient she wasn’t there the one time her roommate is brutally beaten to death,” Wright said. “In this case, the silent witness continues to lead us to the truth.”

The “silent witness” Wright refers to is several reports from neighbors who heard noises and the copious amount of blood inside the apartment that showed Crew was initially injured in a chair in the living room and walked himself to the bathroom where he later died.

Dr. Daniel Brown, a Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner, testified Thursday that Crew died from multiple sharp and blunt force traumas. He had numerous cuts to his face, neck arms and hands and blunt force injuries that resulted in lacerations to his head. Crew also suffered several fractured ribs and bruises including a black eye.

During a videotaped interview with investigators, Taylor repeatedly denied any involvement in Crew’s death.

After her arrest, Taylor spoke about the incident to jailers in the Columbia County Detention Center admitting a level of guilt in Crew’s death.

“‘I cut him, I admit that, but I didn’t kill him,’” Deputy April March said Taylor told her during a smoke break at the jail. “‘I asked him if he wanted me to take him to the hospital because he freaked me out. He said he had it and went back to the bathroom.’”

Neighbors testified Wednesday that they heard cursing, grunting, and scuffling noises coming from Taylor’s apartment.

Taylor opted not to testify on her own behalf and the defense presented no evidence or witnesses.

Jurors will continue deliberating until they reach a verdict or until they decide they can’t reach a unanimous verdict.

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