Judicial Circuit, Hillsborough County Case # 01-8692
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Barbara Fleischer
Attorney, Trial: Deborah Goins – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Andrea M. Norgard – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals – Mark Gruber – CCRC-M
Date of Offense:
Circumstances of Offense:
met Sandra Kushmer and her brother, Billy D. Maddox, at Harry’s Bar in
Riverview. Taylor knew Kushmer from school.
noticed that Kushmer’s brother bought expensive drinks and left generous
tips, he decided to rob them. He took them to their mother’s house where
he attacked them and robbed them.
Kushmer in the head then shot her in the face with a shotgun. He then
severely beat Maddox. Maddox nearly died from the beating, he received
several fractures to his skull and allegedly still suffers from lasting
brain damage from the incident.
incident, while still in Tampa, Taylor washed his bloody clothes, pawned
the shotgun, made charges to the Maddox’s credit card and attempted to
cash one of Maddox’s checks.
Taylor then fled
to Memphis, Tennessee, where he assumed Maddox’s identity of a
stockbroker and used his stolen credit cards and checks to make
purchases. Taylor was arrested in Memphis.
Taylor has given
various accounts of what happened. At one point he claimed that his
wife, Lorena Taylor, and a man named Jose Arano were present and
participated in the crimes; however, neither of them has been charged
with a crime.
trial ended in a mistrial because jurors were mistakenly allowed to hear
a portion of Taylor’s confession in which he discussed committing
burglaries in Miami.
Incarceration History in the State of Florida:
2Y 0M 0D
1Y 0M 0D
In 1976, Taylor shot a woman and assaulted another in Delaware. He
spent 23 years in prison for the crimes. It is stipulated that under
the name of Mark Levy, Taylor lived in Elko County, Nevada and assaulted
and burglarized a female co-worker in 1977.
Indicted as follows:
Count I: First-Degree
Count II: Attempted Murder
Count III: Robbery with a Deadly Weapon
Count IV: Robbery with a Firearm
Count V: Armed Burglary of a Dwelling
Count VI: Felon in Possession of a Firearm
Mistrial was declared.
Jury returned guilty verdicts on counts I through V of the indictment.
Jury recommended death by a vote of 12-0.
Sentenced as follows:
Count I: First-Degree
Murder – Death
Count II: Attempted Murder – Life
Count III: Robbery with a Deadly Weapon – Life
Count IV: Armed Burglary – Life with a 20 year mandatory minimum
Count V: Armed Burglary of a Dwelling – Life with a 10 year mandatory
On 11/19/04, Taylor filed
a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court. He argued that the trial
court erred in denying the motion to suppress evidence seized in an
unlawful search and that the sentence of death is disproportionate for
this case. Taylor also contended that the Florida Capital Sentencing
process is unconstitutional since the judge, rather than the jury,
determines the sentence and the existence of his prior violent felony
should not bar the application of Ring to his death sentence.
Finally, Taylor argued that the jury instructions given during the
penalty phase unconstitutionally shifted the burden of proof onto him
and the instructions improperly minimized and denigrated the role of the
jury in violation of Caldwell v. Mississippi.
The court affirmed
Taylor’s conviction and death sentence on 06/29/06.
10/25/06, the Circuit Court entered an order finding competency to waive
postconviction proceedings & counsel.
12/04/06, an appeal of the Circuit Court order was filed in the Florida
Supreme Court. The appeal is pending.