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Milton E. TAYLOR





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: To break their relationship
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: March 23, 2000
Date of arrest: 2 days after
Date of birth: November 15, 1968
Victim profile: Theresa Irene Williams (pregnant)
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: New Castle County, Delaware, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on July 6, 2001

The Supreme Court of the State of Delaware




Milton E. Taylor

DOB: 11/15/1968

Race: Black Gender: Male

Offense: Murder 1st

Sentenced to Death: 07/06/2001

Date of Offense: 03/23/2000


On the morning of March 23, 2000, Steven Butler (“Butler”), a maintenance worker at the Compton Townhouse complex in Wilmington, was awaiting the arrival of some contractors when he discovered two unattended children playing in the courtyard.

He recognized the children, ages two and four, as those belonging to Williams. Before he left to supervise the contractors, Butler instructed the children to stay away from the street until their mother came outside to join them.

Williams and her sister, Tawana Ricks (“Ricks”), previously planned to do some shopping together that morning, but Williams never arrived at the predetermined location. When Ricks could not reach her sister by telephone she decided to visit Williams’ home.

Ricks arrived at the Compton Townhouse complex and discovered her sister’s two youngest children, unsupervised and playing in the vicinity of her sister’s home. As Ricks was knocking on the locked door to Williams’ home, Nathaniel Henry (“Henry”), Williams’ uncle, arrived to deliver some furniture. Ricksand Henry grew increasingly concerned as their attempts to locate Williams failed.

Butler then joined Ricks and Henry. Upon Ricks’ urging, Butler agreed to open Williams’ door. Once inside, Butler and Henry discovered Williams’ badly beaten and bloody body concealed beneath a blanket with a bicycle on top.

Williams was bleeding from her nose and had a cord wrapped around her neck. Williams was not breathing and Butler called 911. Williams was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy later revealed that Williams was strangled, beaten and cut. The autopsy also revealed that Williams was pregnant, and that the baby died as a result of Williams’death.

Taylor was identified as a suspect in the murder when police learned that he had a relationship with Williams and that he had been seen in the vicinity of her home on the morning of March 23, 2000.

On March 25, 2000 the police received a tip that Taylor was standing at a pay phone on the corner of 9th and Madison Streets. The police responded to the tip and placed Taylor under arrest. Although the arresting officers were aware that Taylor was wanted for questioning in regard to Williams’ murder, the purpose for the arrest was an outstanding bench warrant.

At the police station, Taylor was taken to an interview room where Officer Ronald Muniz (“Muniz”) began routine inventory procedures. Muniz removed a folded piece of paper from the front pocket of Taylor’s hooded sweatshirt and placed it on the table.

Shortly thereafter, Detective James Diana (“Diana”) entered the room, picked up the piece of paper, opened it and began to read it. He quickly realized that the paper contained a handwritten confession (the “Confession Letter”) and therefore removed the letter from the other inventoried items so that it could be included as evidence.

The Confession Letter provided the basis for a search warrant for the Victim’s car which was found parked on a street in New Castle. Inside the car the police found a thirteen-inch knife wrapped in a bloodstained tee shirt.

The blood on the shirt matched the Victim’s blood type. During the investigation it became clear that the apparent motive for the murder was that Taylor’s current girlfriend had given him an ultimatum: end all contact with Williams or lose the current girlfriend. Taylor had apparently gone to see Williams to end contact with her and killed her in the process. Taylor did not testify at trial, nor did he offer any witnesses.

The trial court instructed the jury on both First and Second Degree Murder, but denied the defense request for an instruction on Manslaughter. On March 31, 2001, the jury found Taylor guilty of First Degree Murder.

At the penalty phase, the jury found, by votes of 12 to 0 respectively, the existence of two statutory aggravating factors: that the Victim was pregnant, and that Taylor had previously been convicted of violent felonies. The jury recommended the death penalty by a vote of 10 to 2, and after careful, independent consideration, the trial judge accepted the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Taylor to death.



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