LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Despite getting found guilty by a jury of 12, Richard Taylor maintains he is innocent in the murder of his wife, Shirley Taylor.
Shirley Taylor died on Halloween in 2013 after being stabbed eight times in her apartment at the Ministry in Action Apartments on Kurth Dribe. Richard Taylor was picked up in Corrigan by police just hours after the stabbing. According to police video, Shirley Taylor told officers it was Richard that stabbed her.
In court, Richard Taylor claimed he was innocent, saying he was not at the home when the crime happened because he was on his way to Houston to get a new vehicle to take Shirley back to Houston in to get on the transplant list due to health issues. Taylor echoed that response a day later in the Angelina County Jail to the East Texas News.
"I Richard Wayne Taylor Sr. on the 31st day of October, 2013, in any form or fashion, did not hurt, harm nor kill my wife," Taylor said.
After almost an hour of deliberation late Thursday, the jury sentenced Taylor to a life sentence. Taylor's past history was brought up in court that included an aggravated sexual assault, and aggravated assault and an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The past charges did enhance his sentence. Taylor has spent the last two years in a segregated jail cell inside the Angelina County Detention Facility. Now, Taylor will spend his time in a state prison facility. Taylor said the thought of not getting a chance to get out of prison for a long time is not dis-heartening.
"This is God's will," Taylor said. "This is not the judge's will. it wasn't that jury's will to find me guilty. There's a reason for me being convicted. If it is his will for me to never be released into society, so it be."
Several questions were brought up to Taylor while he took the stand Thursday. Several questions were raised of Taylor's escape. One being why Taylor took off his electronic monitor he was given while being out on parole for his most recent conviction. In court Taylor would not give a reason why it was off, but did say he was not wearing it.
"Since my car was registered as a sex offender in the sex offender registration, that is why I removed my ankle bracelet," Taylor said. "So they could not track me. I told her I would be back at 1 a.m. Nobody would take her to Houston. She was knocking on death's door. I risked it all; my freedom, trying to save this woman."
In a closing statement to the family of Shirley Washington, Richard said he was innocent but sorry for what happened to Shirley and that the real killer was still out there.
In jail, Taylor said the remorse is still there.
"I loved my wife," Taylor said. "I loved going to church with her and visiting with her.... The only thing I regret is not taking her to Houston that day."
After the conviction last night, state prosecutor Katrina Carswell said she was pleased with the result.
"Richard Taylor has a violent past and committed this murder while on parole," Carswell said. "He had worked his way into the lives of Shirley Taylor and her extended family. But I think everyone involved can finally let out a sigh of relief that we've done everything we can to assure he will not be able to hurt anyone else in the free world."
The family was also pleased with the outcome.
"As being a God fearing woman you're not supposed to kill no matter what," Susan Washington said. "Although God gave her life and he took it away from her in a short time and that was very fulfilling for us that he has a life sentence."
Taylor said he will file an appeal to the decision.