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Steven R. TAYLOR





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape - Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: September 15, 1990
Date of arrest: February 16, 1991
Date of birth: September 25, 1969
Victim profile: Alice Vest
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Duval County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on December 9, 1991

DOC #288500
DOB: 09/25/69

Fourth Judicial Circuit, Duval County, Case #91-2456
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable R. Hudson Oliff
Attorney, Trial: Frank Tassone Ė Special Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: David A. Davis Ė Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Michael Reiter Ė Registry

Date of Offense: 09/15/90

Date of Sentence: 12/09/91

Circumstances of Offense:

Steven Taylor was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Alice Vest. 

Vest arrived at her mobile home around 11:30 p.m. on 09/15/90.  Near midnight, Taylor and Gerald Murray, Taylorís codefendent, were dropped off close to the victimís neighborhood after riding around listening to the radio with a third person. 

During the early morning of 09/16/90, a Ford Ranchero was reported missing from the same area.  A passerby reported seeing the automobile near Vestís home at around 4:30 a.m. that morning.  The automobile was found behind a car dealership near Taylorís residence later in the day on 09/16/90.

On the morning of 09/16/90, a neighbor found the body of Vest in her bedroom.  According to the medical examiner, Vest was sexually assaulted.  She also was stabbed approximately 20 times with a knife and a pair of scissors that were found at the scene. 

The medical examiner determined that Vest was strangled after the stabbing.  In addition to the other injuries, the medical examiner found that Vest had suffered head injuries and a fractured jaw.  The medical examiner determined that the fractured jaw was probably due to being hit with a bottle and the other head injuries were probably due to being struck with a metal bar and candlestick.  The bottle, metal bar and candlestick were all found at the scene.  The medical examiner also found bruises on her breasts. 

According to trial testimony, the phone line had been severed.  Trial testimony further revealed that Vestís home had been burglarized and that jewelry was missing.

In December 1990, Taylor moved out the duplex that he had been living in with a roommate.  Taylorís former roommate removed a fence from the property the following month.  While removing the fence, he found a bag that was buried and contained jewelry.  The former roommate gave the jewelry to the police and made a statement.  It was determined that the jewelry was taken from Vestís home the night of the burglary and murder.

In January 1991, Taylor accompanied by friends returned to the duplex to visit his former roommate.  The former roommate observed Taylor go into the backyard and look at the area from which he had previously removed the fence.  The next month, Taylor and his friends again visited Taylorís former roommate.  Taylor walked into the backyard to the area where the fence had previously stood. 

One of the individuals, who had arrived at the duplex with Taylor, testified that Taylor come in from the backyard with dirt on his hands.  He further testified that when he questioned Taylor about what he was doing, Taylor said he was looking for something that was not where he had left it. 

On 02/14/91, the Duval County Sheriffís Office, authorized by a search warrant and acquired blood, saliva and hair samples from Taylor.  After the samples were taken, Taylor asked one of the officers how long before the results would be ready.  The officer inquired into why Taylor wanted to know.  Taylor replied that he wanted to know when they would be coming to get him.  An analyst from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement testified that the semen found on Vestís clothing matched Taylorís DNA profile. 

Timothy Cowart, who had occupied the same cell as Taylor, testified at the trial.  According to Cowart, Taylor said that he been part of a burglary that had gone badly.  Taylor said that he and an accomplice had been robbing a mobile home when the owner arrived home and that he had stabbed and choked her. 

Taylor also claimed to have strangled the victim to ensure that she was dead.  Furthermore, Cowart said that Taylor claimed that the prosecution had enough evidence against him to secure a conviction.  Cowart also claimed that Taylor asked for his assistance in an escape plan.

Additional Information:

Codefendant Status:  Gerald Murray (DC# 291140) 

Murray was convicted of First-Degree Murder, Burglary and Sexual Assault with a Weapon.  He was sentenced to death for the First-Degree Murder conviction on 4/15/94.  Murray also received a life sentence on 4/15/94 for each conviction of Burglary and Sexual Assault.


Trial Summary:

02/16/91          Taylor was arrested.

09/12/91          Taylor was indicted on the following counts:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder (Alice Vest)

Count II:          Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling

Count III:         Sexual Battery with Deadly Weapon

10/10/91          Taylor was found guilty on all counts charged in the indictment.

10/17/91          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 10 to 2 majority, voted for the death penalty.

12/09/91          Taylor was sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder (Alice Vest) Ė Death

Count II:          Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling Ė 15 Years

Count III:         Sexual Battery with Deadly Weapon Ė 27 Years


Case Information:

Taylor filed his Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 12/16/91.  The issues addressed included that the trial court erred in not suppressing Taylorís conversation with a police officer after the DNA samples were taken and after Taylor invoked his right to remain silent and his right to counsel.  Taylor further contended that the trial court erred in admitting evidence that the stolen Ford Ranchero was seen near the Vestís home and then found near Taylorís residence, in admitting cumulative photographs of Vestís body because they created a prejudicial effect and in finding the murder to be heinous, atrocious or cruel.  Taylor also argued that the trial court erred in admitting testimony about Taylorís plan to attempt an escape. 

The Florida Supreme Court did not find errors that warranted reversing the conviction or sentence and affirmed the conviction and sentence on 12/16/93.  Rehearing was denied on 02/10/94.  A mandate was issued on 03/14/94.

On 05/11/94, Taylor filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court.  The petition was denied on 10/03/94.

Taylor filed a 3.850 Motion in the circuit court on 11/01/95.  Amended 3.850 Motion was filed on 06/23/03 and 05/13/04.  The motion is pending.



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