A man who stabbed and decapitated his two oldest children, forced his two younger children to observe their siblings’ mutilated bodies, then locked the younger children in their rooms for five days with no food is the first beneficiary of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon’s new office policy to not seek the death penalty in murder cases.
LASD announced Maurice Taylor Sr., 34, arrested on suspicion of murder.
Son 12, Daughter 13 found decapitated.https://t.co/nccIfexdo7
— ViDevi (@ViDevi2) December 5, 2020
Prosecutors aren’t even seeking life in prison without the possibility of parole – pursuant to a Special Directive Gascon issued Monday. That directive says (in part):
Special Circumstances allegations resulting in an LWOP [Life Without Parole] sentence shall not be filed, will not be used for sentencing, and shall be dismissed or withdrawn from the charging document;
Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr. is charged with two counts of murder and two counts of child abuse and is facing “a maximum of 57 years to life,” according to a press release issued by the District Attorney’s office. That’s because each murder charge carries a sentence of 25 years to life, and the child abuse charges add an additional seven years maximum exposure. So, if convicted of both murders, Taylor would be eligible for parole after just 25 years if the sentences were run concurrently instead of consecutively – which is probably what Gascon would order his Deputy DA’s to argue for.
Sources familiar with the investigation tell RedState that LA Sheriffs’ Department deputies attempted to add enhancements and the DDA declined to file them due to the new policy. Other sources within Gascon’s office said that any DDA who fails to heed the new policies will be referred to headquarters for “insubordination” (even though at least one policy directs DDA’s to not follow clear statutory and decisional law).
The murders took place on the Sunday after Thanksgiving in Lancaster, in northern Los Angeles County. From the LA Times:
Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr., 34, decapitated his son and daughter, authorities allege. Then, for the next five days, he kept the bodies of 12-year-old Maurice Jr. and 13-year-old Maliaka inside the house, along with his two younger sons, ages 8 and 9.
During this period, prosecutors allege in court papers filed Tuesday, the personal trainer showed the dead bodies to the surviving children, who were kept in their rooms without food.
It wasn’t until Friday that a call about a possible gas leak brought firefighters to the gruesome scene inside the house on Century Circle.
Taylor worked as a personal trainer, and since most gyms and fitness facilities in Los Angeles have been closed for months he was offering sessions to his clients via Zoom. When Taylor failed to send out a link to clients and was unable to be reached, the clients were concerned and called authorities to do a welfare check.
“I knew they weren’t out of town. They didn’t have money to travel,” one client said.
Howard Kern, an attorney and writer who trained with Taylor for about seven years, said he called the L.A. County Fire Department at 7:34 a.m. Friday, after other clients had called the Sheriff’s Department to relay their worries.
“I said, ‘I’m concerned,’” Kern recalled. “‘We are concerned about a possible gas leak. There are four children and two adults — and we are concerned about their safety.’”
When authorities arrived they found the children’s bodies in separate bedrooms and took Taylor into custody. The mother was in the home and is not a suspect, according to authorities.
When I posted about this story on Twitter last night, more than a handful of people replied that 25 years was enough, or that I was making up facts, or that this is okay because of inequities in the justice system. Not one comment about the terror and excruciating pain those children must have felt when their own father was butchering them. Not one comment about the surviving children and the unspeakable trauma they’ve endured and which will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Those children, and their mother, are the victims, and nothing that Gascon’s doing takes them or their needs into account.
In a civilized society, we don’t coddle murderers, especially those who slaughter defenseless children. If this case doesn’t wake people up to what a joke the “reform the criminal justice system” movement is, I don’t know what will.