Note: This article was written by Michael Hewlett and first appeared in The Winston-Salem Journal on Monday.
FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C.— Norman Bates and Freddy Krueger, villains from iconic American horror movies, have nothing on Kevin Kraig Taylor, who slashed his mother’s throat and stabbed her to death four years ago, Assistant District Attorney David Hall said in closing arguments Monday.
“The horror that at age 79, realizing that the son you doted over for 43 years is trying to slice your throat open — that’s horror,” Hall said in Forsyth Superior Court.
A Forsyth County jury deliberated about 45 minutes before finding Taylor, 47, guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Naomi Taylor. Judge A. Moses Massey sentenced him to life in prison without possibility of parole.
Prosecutors say Kevin Taylor stashed his mother’s body in her bedroom for several days before moving it to the shed in the back of her house on Bethel Church Road. Authorities found her body on Nov. 9, 2007. A knife was still sticking out of her chest.
Kurtis Taylor, Kevin Taylor’s brother, said his family is happy with the verdict.
“The family loves Kevin and has forgiven him,” he said.
Kevin Taylor lost his 13-year-old daughter two months before his mother’s death. Radha-Kunda Taylor, 13, was killed in August in a car crash in Davidson County after she took her father’s car.
According to testimony, Kevin Taylor had become depressed after his daughter’s death and admitted himself to Forsyth Medical Center a week before his mother’s death to get treatment for depression and suicidal thoughts. Prosecutors said that while Taylor was in the hospital, he threatened to bash in his mother’s head and accused her of not expressing enough grief.
Kurtis Taylor said his mother had an older son and daughter in addition to Kevin and him. Kevin is the youngest. Their father died in 1998. He said it wasn’t easy, but the family needed to forgive Kevin to avoid bitterness.
“It’s a double dose, no doubt,” he said.
Kevin Taylor, dressed in a brown sweater, blue shirt and khakis, had no apparent reaction. He did not testify during the trial.
Before closing arguments, Kevin Taylor asked that the case be dismissed, saying he did not get a speedy trial and the jury did not get to hear certain evidence.
“Some things have been skipped over and left out,” he said.
Massey denied the motions.
In closing arguments, David Freedman, one of Kevin Taylor’s attorneys, said investigators did not do enough testing of the physical evidence and did not record an interview with Taylor. He also questioned the credibility of some of the witnesses to whom prosecutors say Taylor confessed to killing his mother. He said their written statements did not match their testimony in court and that one witness had been using heroin and the other had schizophrenia and other mental issues.
According to testimony during the trial, Taylor lived with his mother most of his adult life and had a contentious relationship with her.
He called her stupid and ridiculed her weight, Kurtis Taylor testified.
Prosecutors said that on Nov. 6, 2007, Kevin Taylor was looking for his monthly Social Security check and was angry that his mother, who gave him money that he used to support his heroin drug habit, had only $3. That’s when he killed her.
Hall said in closing arguments that Naomi Taylor tried to fight back, leaving defensive wounds on her hands. Kevin Taylor wrapped her body in blankets and placed her in her bedroom. He opened the windows and turned off the heat to lessen the smell of her decomposing body, Hall said.
After three days, he moved her body to the shed.
Prosecutors said Kevin Taylor also tried to kill his former wife, Sandi Alspaugh-Taylor, in the mid-1990s. He was convicted in 1994 of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury in the incident. Hall said in court that Taylor held Alspaugh-Taylor against her will for 24 hours and when she tried to leave, he choked her until she was unconscious.
The jury did not hear about the conviction because Massey ruled that it might be prejudicial.