The jury in the William Taylor murder trial is set to receive the case today, after nearly a month long trial. On Tuesday, both the defense and the prosecution wrapped up their case by giving their closing arguments.
Sam Cox, who represents Candy Maiden, focused his argument around Jeremy Evans and several witnesses who claimed Maiden confessed.
Cox said several witnesses never mentioned anything about Maiden being at the house. Cox argued that Maiden lived with a drug dealer and she didn’t need to assault anyone to get drugs.
“Candy is flat out innocent,” said Cox.
Cox said there is no physical evidence against Maiden.
“When you come through the courtroom doors, you don’t leave your common sense out there,” said Cox. “It just doesn’t make a lick of sense that Candy Maiden was with anyone that night who assaulted Mr. Taylor.”
Cox pointed out the majority of the witnesses who testified that Maiden was involved got their information from Jeremy Evans, who Cox said lied several times throughout the investigation.
Cox said Tara Hatfield, who was locked up with Maiden and claimed Maiden confessed to her, had a motive to lie on the stand. Cox said Hatfield had hope that she would get help by testifying on the stand.
Cox brought in several witnesses from the correctional facility where Maiden and Hatfield were housed. Each witness claimed the two didn’t get along.
Will Collins, Brian Hatfield’s attorney, followed Cox’s closing argument.
“This is a bad case,” said Collins in reference to what he believes to be lack of evidence.
Collins focused his argument around a few statements Brian Hatfield said while on the stand. Brian Hatfield testified drug addicts can’t be trusted. Collins said it would make since for Brian Hatfield to confess to people he didn’t trust.
Collins argued the case was built on rumors and compared it to the telephone game, where bits and pieces of a story change as the rumor continues.
Two individuals testified Brian Hatfield came to their house claiming to have money and patted his pocket. According to Collins, Joe Bill Brown said Brian Hatfield came after Taylor died. Collins said that would have been around the time Brian Hatfield would have received some money for his house burning down.
Stephanie McKeehan, who represents Debbie Partin, also said the trial was based on rumors. She looked to Donald Baker, who testified in the trial, to explain.
Baker originally gave a statement that Partin confessed to cutting the phone lines at Taylor’s house. When he testified during the trial, he said he made his statement up based on rumors he heard. He also testified he stayed high during that time period.
McKeehan looked to Francis Partin and Shana Mason to show contradicting statements. According to her, Francis Partin said Debbie Partin cut the phone lines the night of the assault and Mason said she cut the lines the night a week prior.
McKeehan said Debbie Partin said she would help the police and even offered to wear a wire at some point.
Commonwealth Attorney Karen Blondell focused on testimony of several witnesses and statements made by Taylor.
Blondell pointed out that on the night of the assault, Taylor mentioned Maiden and Debbie Partin as the people responsible for the assault. She also brought up that people heard Taylor say the two were at his house earlier in the day and threatened to burn his house down since he didn’t let them spend the night.
Blondell said Brian Hatfield admitted to taking Evans’ truck the night of the assault. She returned focus to the several witnesses who claimed the three confessed in some form or fashion.
Blondell played videos of testimony throughout the case to show the jury what people had testified. The video included testimony from Tara Hatfield, Francis Partin, Brian Hatfield and several others.
“This is a trial about justice,” said Blondell.
The jury will begin deliberations today at 9 a.m.
It is alleged Taylor was brutally beaten during the robbery at his home in the early morning hours of Jan. 15, 2008. After the robbers fled, Taylor walked more than 100 yards to the nearest neighbor’s house for help. Taylor was sent to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where he was initially admitted to the Intensive Care unit.
Taylor’s condition was briefly upgraded to stable before being downgraded. His injuries claimed his life approximately one week after the attack.
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