Trial near Texarkana Killing

TEXARKANA – A man accused of killing his girlfriend in a Texarkana apartment and burying her body on a hunting lease in Ogden in 2017 is due to face a jury later this month.

Tony Earl Taylor, 61, appeared Monday for a hearing before District Judge Carlton Jones on charges of murder, abuse of a corpse and manipulation of evidence. Questions about Taylor’s expertise and precautionary measures for the Covid-19 pandemic have led to delays in the case.

Taylor is accused of killing Crystal Reed, 35, in an apartment on March 6, 2017. Taylor hid evidence in a backyard in Texarkana, Texas, and buried Reed’s body in a shallow grave on a hunting lease in Ogden, Southwest Arkansas’ Little River County, authorities said

Taylor was ruled incompetent in 2019 by an expert at Arkansas State Hospital due to an intellectual deficiency, but was found competent by an expert who performed a follow-up assessment of him later that year. After a hearing in July 2020, Jones ruled that Taylor has legal standing to stand trial.

At Monday’s hearing, Jones denied a defense motion to suppress a testimony Taylor made to law enforcement in 2017. The defense argued that Taylor did not understand his right to remain silent because of an allegedly diminished intellect. Jones noted that while Taylor appears to have some intellectual disabilities, he is able to keep a job and drive a car.

Jones said he reviewed a video recording of Taylor’s interrogation by law enforcement and considered the opinions of mental health experts before deciding the application should be denied.

The trial is scheduled to begin on August 11th. Another pre-trial hearing is scheduled for August 10, according to court documents.

Taylor faces 10 to 40 years or life if convicted of murder. If found guilty of abusing a corpse, he faces three to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $ 10,000. If convicted for manipulating physical evidence, Taylor faces up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $ 10,000.

Taylor is currently being held in Miller County Jail with bail set at $ 750,000.

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