Jury convicts Tim Prater
|By Janie Slaven, McCreary County Record, Whitley City, Ky.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Taylor had been accosted as she left home around
Prater's trial began Wednesday with
Mrs. Taylor testified that during the course of the attack, she was asked about her involvement with the Mexican drug cartel, about drugs or money in the house, and the security code to get inside. The man in charge identified himself as
"He told me if it sounded the alarm, I would die," Mrs. Taylor testified.
Taylor described the two other males, one of whom rifled through her purse by the light of her car door -- taking eight
"I was terrified," she said. "I didn't know what was going on. [I did know] if they were
Mrs. Taylor described her injuries, including taser burns, as well as the mental trauma recovering from the attack. She told the jury she had to have someone with her for at least six months.
"I used to sit on my porch and drink coffee; I can't do that anymore," she said.
"Her voice never raised the whole time she was telling me what she'd done," he said.
Taylor testified that he then told her he had no alternative but to call the police. Ms. Stephens, he testified, responded that she "was going to cash out" rather than go to jail.
Taylor called Trooper
The trial resumed Thursday with
The prosecution introduced bank and phone records indicating Ms. Stephens had withdrawn
Turner and Denning testified they had been offered
The final prosecution witness was KSP Det.
During this interview, Prater admitted "Blair" didn't exist but claimed to
Prater purchased two guns with the money and scoped out the Taylor property but stalled for three months until Stephens started "getting antsy." He claimed he only wanted to warn Mrs. Taylor that she was in danger.
Det. Correll's testimony wrapped up with the phone records between Prater and Ms. Stephens. Texts indicated that she alerted Prater when
On cross, co-counsel
The defense rested without calling any witnesses but in closing, Chaney described his client as having a hero complex. Prater, he said, had ample opportunity to kill Mrs. Taylor that morning but did not do so.
"The idea that Tim is a murderer is just as off-base as Tim being in the
Chaney also called into question Turner and Denning's credibility, noting that they had pled guilty to reduced charges.
The jury began deliberating at approximately
Formal sentencing has been scheduled for
"I'm pleased with the verdict," Mrs. Taylor said. "Det.
The Taylors had been subject to recall and spent most of the three-day trial in a small waiting room unable to hear the proceedings, which Mrs. Taylor described as nerve-wracking.
Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Stephens said he respected the verdict and hoped it "gives a little closure to Debbie."
The Taylors, along with Ford, were back in court on Monday morning as Turner and Denning were sentenced to a total of eight years each for unlawful imprisonment and criminal facilitation to commit robbery. Each was ordered to pay
(c)2014 the McCreary County Record (Whitley City, Ky.)
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