O'Dell TAYLOR Sr.
Number of victims: 2
Date of murder:
Date of birth: 1945
Victims profile: Frances
Stephens Taylor, 55 (his ex-wife) and
E. Rodgers, 66 (his ex-brother-in-law)
Method of murder:
Location: Nassau County, Florida, USA
Status: Committed suicide by shooting himself the same day
kills ex-wife, brother-in-law before turning gun
May 5, 2006
FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla.
(AP) — A man who had been ordered to stay
away from his ex-wife fatally shot her and her
brother-in-law and injured her sister before
turning the gun on himself, authorities said.
Denny O'Dell Taylor Sr., 60,
died outside a school Thursday from a self-inflicted
gunshot wound to the head, said Nassau County
Sheriff Tommy Seagraves. Shortly before that,
Taylor confronted his former family in the
parking lot of a nearby hospital, Seagraves said.
Roy E. Rogers, 67, died
outside Baptist Medical Center-Nassau.
The gunman's ex-wife, Frances
Stephens Taylor, 55, was flown to Shands
Jacksonville hospital, where she was later
Her sister, Sara C. Rogers,
was in serious condition Friday morning at
Baptist Medical Center, hospital officials said.
The family had a history of
domestic violence, and an injunction had been
issued ordering the gunman to stay away from his
former wife and her sister, authorities said.
"We're still trying to piece
this thing together," Seagraves said.
School officials said there
were no injuries to students or personnel at
Emma Love Hardee Elementary School, where
Seagraves said Taylor shot himself in the
parking lot as deputies arrived.
The school was placed on
lockdown, but parents were allowed to pick up
their children early, said Sharyl Wood,
executive director of administrative services
for the Nassau County School Board. School
psychologists were sent there for anyone needing
counseling, she said.
Fernandina Beach is a wealthy
resort area, about 35 miles northeast of
Shootings leave 3 dead, 1
Nassau man kills
ex-wife's brother-in-law, himself
By Charlie Patton, Jeff Brumley, Michael
Laforgia and Bridget Murphy -
Friday, May 5,
FERNANDINA BEACH -- For months, members of
Frances Stevens "Sue" Taylor's family lived in
fear that her estranged husband might do
something violent, court records show.
Apparently distraught over an impending divorce,
in March he came to the North Jacksonville home
of her sister and her brother-in-law, where he
held them and his wife at gunpoint for more than
an hour. Then, on April 18, he told his sister-in
law "to prepare to meet your maker," she said in
a petition seeking an injunction against him.
"I fear that he will carry
out his threat of violence," she told the court
in the April 21 filing.
Thursday, he did what she
feared, police said.
In a hospital parking lot in
Fernandina Beach, he shot his ex-wife, her
sister and her brother-in-law. Later, outside a
Fernandina Beach elementary school, he shot
himself to death.
Left dead were Denny O'Dell
Taylor Sr., the 60-year-old shooter, his wife,
Sue Taylor, 55, and his ex-brother-in-law, Roy
E. Rodgers, 66. Sue Taylor's sister, Sara C.
Rodgers, 57, was in serious condition at Shands
The Taylors' problems began
coming to a head months ago after 38 years of
marriage, according to police and court records.
According to a Nassau County
Sheriff's Office report, Denny Taylor, who lived
on Blackmon Road in Yulee, was arrested on the
morning of Feb. 10 on charges of domestic
battery and possession of a controlled substance.
The arrest report said he struck his wife twice
after she confronted him for taking some of her
prescription medication for recreational
On Feb. 22, a Nassau County
judge granted Sue Taylor a protective order
barring her husband from contacting her or
coming near her. He was also ordered not to
approach the Rodgerses' Jacksonville residence,
where Sue Taylor had moved, or to possess any
firearms or ammunition.
On April 24, Sara Rodgers
called the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to
report that someone had punctured three of her
By then, Denny and Sue Taylor
were officially divorced.
Late Thursday afternoon,
after the shooting, some children played in a
backyard pool at the Fernandina Beach home of
Taylor's daughter and son-in-law, Brenda and
Jeff Murray. Jeff Murray's mother said the
couple wasn't home and that they were too shaken
to talk about the day's events.
Mary Smith, a Fernandina
Beach resident and close family friend, said
Denny Taylor was distraught that after 38 years
his marriage was coming apart. She said that
when she last saw him in March, he blamed many
of the couple's problems on disagreements they
had about his namesake, his son Denny Jr., who
is now in prison.
Smith said Taylor suffered
from diabetes and recently had a stroke. He was
a retired businessman who at one time ran a dump
truck company and a truck stop in Yulee near
Interstate 95. Smith said Taylor seemed lonely
but didn't give her any reason to think he was
going to hurt anybody. He adored his
grandchildren, she said.
Boe Lewis, 43, who lived next
door to the Taylors in Yulee for about a year,
called Denny Taylor "a neighborhood legend" and
a well-known jack of all trades.
Of Sue Taylor, he said, "She
was a character."
Lewis remembered one time
when a storm was coming, she ran over to the
backyard fence and pressed a hurricane lantern
on him, even though he already had one of his
He said they didn't come out
much, but that he'd see them sitting together on
their front porch swing.
They were friendly people,
Lewis recalled, and would talk your ear off.
"You go over there, you
weren't going to come back for an hour," he said.
"All they did was smoke and drink Coca-Cola."
He remembered seeing police
and emergency workers swarming his neighbor's
yard one night a couple of months ago and
learned later they had had some kind of fight.
"I could tell when they were
fighting," he said. "One would sit on the front
porch, one would sit there in the back."
Dolores Smith, 55, who lives
across the street from the Taylors' house and
used to drink coffee with him and his wife,
remembered him as a nice man.
She said Denny Taylor had
been in the hospital before problems with his
wife started, and that he was in and out of the
hospital during the separation.
Smith said Taylor and his
wife had been separated for about two months and
that during that time Taylor lived with his
daughter. He moved back into his house on
Blackman after the divorce, she said.
"I saw him the day before
yesterday and I waved at him," Smith said. "He's
just been very unhappy."
Sue Taylor and the Rodgerses
were apparently on their way to a doctor's
appointment at a building next to Baptist
Medical Center Nassau when Denny Taylor
confronted them and began shooting at 10:26 a.m.
Denny Taylor then fled in a
gold Chrysler, crashing into another car at 14th
Street and Sadler Road as he went through a red
light. He was driving about 70 mph and his
driver's door was still open as he hit the back
of a Toyota, according to the Florida Highway
Patrol. No one was hurt in the crash, which did
only minor damage.
He then pulled in front of
Emma Love Hardee Elementary, where his daughter
worked, and shot himself in the head.
Office personnel tried to
phone the parents of all 400 students to
reassure them the children were safe. About 350
students were picked up by parents before school
ended at 2:35.
Alphanette Waters, whose
daughter is in fourth grade, said she heard
officials ask that parents not rush to school to
pick up their children.
School is scheduled to be in
session today and counselors will be on hand to
provide support for students, teachers and
Shooting rocks Fernandina
Man kills 2, injures 1, turns
gun on himself
By Kevin Turner,
Nassau Neighbors staff writer
Saturday, May 6, 2006
FERNANDINA BEACH -- At about
10:30 Thursday morning, students and staff at
Emma Love Hardee Elementary heard a chilling
message over the intercom:
"Oh my God," front office
paraprofessional Barbara Menzella said before
she announced a code that put the school on
emergency lockdown. All the students were sent
under their desks, and all school and classroom
doors were locked, said Carole Lendry, whose 10-year-old
son attends the school.
Outside the school, Denny
O'Dell Taylor, 60, had just pulled up to the
school's front entrance. He then shot himself to
Menzella said when she saw
Taylor's car speed up to the front entrance, she
locked the door as quickly as she could.
"I did a full lockdown. The
code is for the teachers. We have a set schedule
we do in these situations. Someone else called
911," she said.
Lee Williams of Fernandina
Beach was riding his bicycle on Sadler Road when
he saw Taylor's gold 2002 Chevrolet sedan speed
down 14th Street and strike a car in the
intersection as it turned on Sadler Road. He
followed on his bicycle, he said.
"He came in to the school and
just drove right up front. I heard a gunshot, 'Pow!'
A lot of police were right behind him," Williams
Taylor's suicide at the
elementary school on Susan Drive was the second
act in a morning of violence.
The Nassau County man had
just sped from a parking lot at Baptist Medical
Center Nassau on 18th Street where he went on
shooting spree, killing his ex-wife, Frances
Stevens Taylor, 55, seriously wounding her
sister, Sara C. Rogers, 57 and killing her
brother-in-law, Roy E. Rogers, 66.
Frances Taylor had a
restraining order against her ex-husband, the
Nassau County Sheriff's Office reported Thursday.
Sheriff's Office officials in a statement
released Thursday afternoon said they were still
investigating the incident, but said it may have
resulted from a "continued domestic violence
Debbie Summerville, a visibly
shaken patient at Baptist Medical Center Nassau
on Thursday, said she chatted with Frances
Taylor minutes before she was killed. Taylor was
a patient in the same office.
"She said she left him [Denny
Taylor] yesterday," Summerville said.
Shortly after Frances Taylor
left the office, Summerville said she heard
about six shots.
Summerville said she saw
Denny Taylor in the parking lot before the
"We saw him sitting right
there," she said, pointing toward the parking
lot. "He had something between his legs, and he
was just shaking his head."
As Frances Taylor neared her
car, Denny Taylor rose and shot her, Roy Rogers
and Sara Rogers, Summerville said.
The news of the shootings at
the hospital and school spread rapidly through
Fernandina Beach and on national news services
as the city was busy preparing for the annual
Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival.
"As long as the kids at the
school are fine, I'm fine," said Sharyl Wood,
Executive Director of Administrative Services
for the Nassau County School District.
Menzella said all of Emma
Love Hardee's children made it home safely by
the time school was out at 2:35 p.m.
There were anxious moments
After the 10:30 a.m.
shooting, rumors spread among Emma Love parents
like wildfire. Some heard teachers were shot,
some heard students were shot.
"We heard there was a
shooting at the high school," parent Cindy
Schaefer said, only learning later the incident
actually happened at the school her son attends.
Parent Janet Blake said she
knew a school employee who reassured her the
children were safe. Meanwhile, school staff were
busily calling parents with the same message.
They told them even though the school was on
lockdown, parents could pick up their children
from one school entrance.
"We weren't panicked because
someone was telling us it was OK." Blake said in
the school parking lot Thursday. "All the other
parents are getting their kids."
Lendry, whose son is a
fifth-grader at the school, was at a doctor's
appointment in Jacksonville when she heard what
happened. Her husband picked up their son from
school, but she said she's still stunned.
"My heart goes out to the
family. This just doesn't happen in little
Mayberry," she said.
Superintendent John Ruis said Thursday the
school's lockdown went well.
"The lockdown was to ensure
the safety of the children. At no time were our
children in immediate danger. Our school has
remained secure," Ruis said. "We'll debrief some
staff this afternoon and assess the impact on
the students. We do have a school psychologist
in the school right now. We have crisis
management procedures for different types of
crises, but this was a lot different than
anything we've experienced at a school."
Medical center staff gave
emergency aid Thursday to the victims who were
then taken to Shands Jacksonville. Spokeswoman
Mimi Stewart said despite the shootings just
outside the facility, operations and patient
"It was a normal day as far
as inside the hospital is concerned," Stewart
said shortly after the shootings.
But outside the medical
center and all around Fernandina Beach, normalcy
seemed far away.
"I'm shocked. I moved here
from Jacksonville to get away from all this,"
History of violence
Nassau County sheriff's deputies respond to a
domestic disturbance at the Taylor residence on
Blackmon Road. Frances "Sue" Taylor tells
deputies that her husband, Denny, punched and
slapped her in the head. The incident occurred
after she tried to take her prescription
medication away from him, she told police.
He "frequently steals and
ingests her medication for recreational purposes,"
according to the the arrest report.
Taylor is arrested and
charged with domestic battery. Deputies find a
bottle of painkillers in his pants pocket.
Assistant State Attorney Jerome Smiley Jr. said
the case was still under investigation.
Feb. 22: Sue
Taylor is granted a protection order prohibiting
her husband from approaching her or coming
within 500 feet of their Yulee home. He is also
barred from coming within 500 feet of her
sister's house in Jacksonville.
Taylor's sister, Sara Rodgers of Jacksonville,
tells police that Denny Taylor came to her house
with a gun. Taylor trained the gun on her, her
husband and her sister, forced them to sit on a
couch and told them he was there to kill them.
Sue Taylor pleaded with him not to and he
eventually left. The incident was not reported
to police until April.
Sara Rodgers tells Jacksonville police that her
sister's estranged husband called and asked "if
I was ready to meet my maker." She immediately
called police and filed a report.
Sue Taylor's petition to dissolve the couple's
38-year marriage is granted in Circuit Court.
Their doublewide mobile home is awarded to her
ex-husband, while other assets are to be split
between them. The protective order she had
received in February is also dissolved.
Sara Rodgers calls Jacksonville police to report
that three of her tires have been slashed by
May 2: Sara
Rodgers obtains another protective order against
May 4: Denny
Taylor shoots his ex-wife, her sister and
brother-in-law in a medical center parking lot
behind Baptist Medical Center Nassau in
Fernandina Beach. Roy Rodgers is killed while
Sue Taylor and Sara Rodgers are wounded. Taylor
flees the scene, then shoots himself to death in
front of a local elementary school.
Investigators work at the
scene of a triple shooting a parking lot at Baptist Medical Center Nassau in
Fernandina Beach where one victim died. The
gunman then drove about 2 miles to Emma Love
Hardee Elementary School, where he shot himself.
(Will Dickey/The Times-Union)
Denny O'Dell Taylor Sr.
Shown in a February Nassau County jail photo,
police say he confronted his ex-wife with a gun
in a parking lot and wounded her and her sister.