Testimony Continues in Mark Taylor Trial
By Candice Freeland/WestKyStar Staff
PADUCAH, KY - One can only guess the terror and confusion Casondra Evrard felt on the last day of her life in December, 2010, when she was stabbed, cut, beaten, and left on the bank of a creek, allegedly by her friend and her friend's parents. A partially smoked cigarette was discarded on her leg.
But after seeing photos of a post-mortem Evrard in McCracken Circuit Court Tuesday, one can try to imagine.
On Tuesday, day two of Mark Taylor's trial on kidnapping and murder charges, the jury heard from Dr. Deidre Schluckebier, the medical examiner who performed Evrard's autopsy.
The doctor testified that it could have been either one of two stab wounds that proved fatal for Evrard. One was located on the right side of her body near her shoulder; it punctured her lung. The other, a wound to her neck that struck her carotid artery. The doctor pointed out other wounds to her hand, abdomen and face, determining that some of Evrard's injuries were caused by blunt-force trauma.
"Beating. Something broad and flat," the doctor said.
Mark Taylor sat quietly and looked ahead as the doctor testified, looking down only momentarily to write on a notepad.
When his daughter, sixteen-year-old Jade testified, he did the same.
She answered questions about events that took place on December 10, 2010, the day that ended with Evrard's death. Jade testified that she went to school as usual, and went to the mall with her cousin Destini Marshall afterward, after receiving a text from her cousin that the two should do so. Taylor told her cousin she had to be home by 4 pm in order to escort her younger brother off the school bus.
She stated that when she arrived at home, she saw her father, Mark Taylor, place something in the bed of his truck. Although she could not say specifically what it was, she said it was something like "a water jug."
Mark Taylor's defense team asked Jade about how her father and her sister Jasmine had been feeling in the days leading up to December 10, 2010. She began to cry and said that Jasmine had been in the hospital about a week earlier due to suspected mental and emotional problems.
"She was not acting right. She was sad. She was having issues," When asked to be more specific about what that meant, Jade stated, "Jasmine had always had mental issues, but never like that." Jade said that her mother cried about Jasmine's situation, but her father didn't. Instead, she said, "he seemed defeated and sad."
The jury also heard from Julie Garrett Tuesday. She is Jamie Taylor's sister.
Garrett testified that on December 10, 2010, Mark Taylor came to her workplace unannounced, which she said was not something he normally did. She said he wanted to talk to her about giving Garrett and her husband custody of his and Jamie Taylor's minor children "in the event that he and Jamie were ever incarcerated."
Current and former detectives with the McCracken County Sheriff's Department identified evidence collected from the Taylor home, including blood samples found on the bathroom door and the back steps.
If convicted, Mark Taylor could face the death penalty as a possible sentence.
From Monday's court proceedings:
According to the Paducah Sun, Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Raymond McGee said during his opening statement that witnesses will testify that the Taylor family invited Evrard to their trailer at 7400 Ogden Landing Road on the premise that they were throwing a party for Jasmine Taylor.
Jamie Taylor, who took a plea deal on Dec. 12, testified that it was her idea to make up the story about the party. She also admitted to cutting Evrard’s throat outside of the trailer after she said she and her daughter and husband assaulted Evrard in the bathtub of the trailer.
Jamie Taylor testified that this was all related to an incident a week prior, when a sheriff’s deputy brought then 21-year-old Jasmine Taylor home after finding her wandering along the road.
Jasmine Taylor had gone to a birthday party the night before with several male friends. Three of the party attendees testified on Monday that Taylor was acting strangely, running throughout the house and smearing purple hair dye all over her hands. The men said they decided to take her home at around 2:30 a.m. They all said that they never touched her that night and just brought her to her parents. They also said they barely knew Evrard, that she was not at the birthday party that night and that all of the males who were at the party are gay.
Jasmine Taylor told her parents another story.
The Paducah Sun reports that after five days in a mental facility, Jamie Taylor said her daughter told her and Mark Taylor that she had been raped and that Evrard drugged her and collected money from the boys as payment for them have sex with her.
Jamie Taylor said she then began discussing a plan to get revenge on Evrard. She and several other family members went to where Evrard lived and brought her back to their home, where Jasmine Taylor punched her. The fight continued, and Jamie Taylor said she dragged Evrard by her hair back to the bathroom, where she and Mark Taylor began threatening her with knives, insisting she admit that she hurt their daughter.
Jamie Taylor said she and Mark Taylor then started cutting Evrard until she screamed that she did it. At that point, Jamie Taylor said her husband told her it was too late and they continued torturing her. Jasmine Taylor then came in with a hammer, and Jamie Taylor said Mark Taylor brought in a knife. Jasmine Taylor used the knife to slash Evrard’s wrist and face, Jamie Taylor testified. Mark Taylor then sprayed bug spray in Evrard’s face.
Jamie Taylor said Mark Taylor then came out of the bathroom, saying he “stuck her like a pig.” She said she thought it meant that Evrard was dead.
The couple then took Evrard’s body outside, where Jamie Taylor said she slit her throat. She also said that her niece, Brandi Marshall, beat Evrard with a bat.
Jamie Taylor testified that Mark Taylor put the body in a trash can and took it to a dumpster nearby. She said the rest of the evidence was burned in a fire pit. McCracken County sheriff’s deputies found Evrard’s body the next day.
Jamie Taylor faces two life sentences with parole eligibility in 20 years. She said that she even set up a plan with the other co-defendants, who are mostly the Taylors’ family members, to take most of the blame for what happened. Jamie Taylor said she thought it would be better than coming clean and incriminating Mark Taylor.
Coverage from Monday's court proceedings:
The Paducah Sun reports that defense attorney Jason Pfeil told jurors during his opening statements to ask themselves what they think Mark Taylor would do to protect his family. Pfeil described Taylor as a man with mental problems.
Pfiel told a different story about the events that played out inside the Taylor’s home, and raised the possibility that Jamie Taylor killed Evrard when she cut her throat. He said the only person who states Mark Taylor was at the scene of Evrard’s death is Jamie Taylor, whom he said has nothing more to lose now that she has entered a guilty plea.
Evrard’s mother, Carla Cruse testified that she went to the Taylors’ home to look for her daughter on Dec. 10, 2010. She said she started to worry when her daughter did not answer her texts. Cruse also testified that Mark Taylor gave her a piece of paper with several boys' names on it and told her that he wanted to get revenge on them.
Destini Marshall, Mark Taylor’s niece, testified Monday that she was instructed to pick up the Taylors’ other daughter, Jade Taylor, from school that day and take her to the mall.
Marshall was one of the four other people who pleaded guilty to complicity to kidnapping in relation to Evrard’s death. Part of her plea deal required that she agreed to act as as a witness in the trials of the other defendants. Jasmine Taylor is the only other defendant whose case is still pending. Her trial is set for March.
The state will continue calling witnesses at 8:30 a.m. in McCracken Circuit Court.