Pathologist in Lufkin man's murder trial: Victim was stabbed multiple times

Pathologist in Lufkin man's murder trial: Victim was stabbed multiple times
Richard Taylor (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Richard Taylor (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Shirley Taylor (Source: Evie White)
Shirley Taylor (Source: Evie White)
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The forensic pathologist that performed the autopsy on Shirley Taylor began testimony on day three of the Richard Taylor murder trial.

Taylor is accused as killing his wife Shirley Taylor back on Halloween in 2013. If he is found guilty, Taylor could face up to 99 years in prison.

"I performed this autopsy under the request of Judge Billy Ball," Rawlston said.

Rawlston told prosecuting attorney Katrina Carswell that the autopsy was performed by request because Angelina County does not have a medical examiner.

Rawlston said when Shirley Taylor's body was brought to him there was no clothing other than socks and had a large amount of medical scars.

Rawlston said one stab wound went into her side and caused hemorrhage of the lung. He continued saying wound caused about a little less than a pint of blood to enter the stomach.  Rawlston said there was another stab wound that made and "L" shape and contacted the liver.

"It had to have a significant length to have contacted the liver," Rawlston said. "It would have had to be at least three to four inches."

Rawlston went onto describe a stab wound by the shoulder that cut into the muscle and two more wounds on the back of the forearm.

Rawlston said the largest width of any of the stab wounds was 1.4 inches wide.

"I would expect with that number, the blade is about an inch wide," Rawlston said.

Carswell showed the suspected murder weapon to Rawlston and he said that believed he would have expected a little bit bigger knife.

Rawlston said Shirley Taylor's lung, liver, and small intestines all had damage from stab wounds. Rawlston also said there was bruising under the back side of the head.

"It was still in the red phase," Rawlston said. "It goes red then purple then brown. It could have happened a day or two before or at the time of death."

Rawlston said after looking over the body's condition, he did a toxicology report.

Defense attorney Al Charanza questioned Rawlston about possible cocaine use by Shirley Taylor and Rawlston said it is difficult to tell when the drug may have been in her body due to the medical intervention she was given.

Charanza brought up Shirley's medical history which included diabetes, damage to her kidneys, damage to her liver, and as hepatitis C.

Rawlston said the cause of Shirley Taylor's death was cardiac arrest.

"When we die, all of our hearts stop," Rawlston said. "That is the definition of death not the cause. What happened before that is the cause of death."

Evie White then talked about her sister, Shirley Taylor.

White said she had some health conditions that she was going to the doctor for.

"She could walk on her own," White said. "She sometimes had to walk with her walker."
White said Shirley had lived at the Ministry in Action apartments for about four years. White also said she knew Richard and Shirley had arguments.

"One Sunday I invited the family to come over and I saw them arguing outside," White said. "I asked them both to leave because I felt uncomfortable.  I told him that I thought he wasn't going to do this anymore."

White said she believes that particular argument happened a couple of weeks before the stabbing.
"I remember another Tuesday where Richard came over to my goddaughters house and he said, 'She gave me my car keys back, and she don't want me no more,'" White said. "I was trying to calm things down."

White said Shirley Taylor could get a mean mouth if she got mad, but she was not an angry person. She thinks the argument was over a love-hate relationship.

"It was about control," White said. "Richard was controlling."

White said the Tuesday incident took place the week before she died.

White said she had never heard them arguing about finances or living together but she had heard other people bring it up. White did hear the two arguing about relationships with other people.

"That one Sunday, Shirley was in my house and sitting on the couch, and a person came up and talked to Richard, and I said that was a woman and she got upset," White said.

White said she believes Richard Taylor was a jealous man but that Shirley Taylor never did anything that warranted the jealousy. She said if Shirley Taylor spoke to a male friend, Richard Taylor would get mad.

"I've seen him pull on her," White said. "That was at Sunday dinner."

White believed she was well liked and had no enemies. White said when she went to the hospital to see Shirley she was told she could speak to her sister once she went into recovery, but she was never able to.

White brought a big picture of Shirley Taylor at church and said she was happy at church.

"She loved church, "White said. "She always looked forward to going to church on Sundays."

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