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Ex-con in aggravated murder trial in Eugene

Apr 2, 2014


By The Associated Press

EUGENE — A man who spent 27 years in prison for a Lane County murder is facing aggravated murder charges in a new trial in Eugene that could put him on death row.

David Ray Taylor is accused of killing 22-year-old Celestino “Tino” Gutierrez of Eugene in August 2012 and then using his car in a bank robbery.

Police and court records say it was one of a number of robberies in a monthslong spree, the Eugene Register-Guard reported.

Jury selection began Tuesday and is expected to take two weeks, with opening statements on April 15.

A second defendant, A.J. Scott Nelson, is awaiting trial. A third suspect, Mercedes Crabtree, pleaded guilty to murder and has agreed to testify against Nelson.

Prosecutors say Crabtree posed as a woman in distress to lure Gutierrez from a bar to Taylor's house, where he was killed. Crabtree was sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

Both Taylor and Nelson are charged with maiming or torturing Gutierrez and with abuse of his corpse.

Taylor is now 58. He was convicted of the shotgun killing of a woman working as a gas station attendant in 1977.

Her body was found not far from the spot on a remote forest road in the Coast Range west of Eugene where Gutierrez's body was buried in a shallow grave.

The attendant's murder occurred before Oregon voters passed Measure 11, which sets minimum mandatory sentences for murder and other crimes, and one year before voters reinstated the death penalty.

Taylor was sentenced to life, with the possibility of parole. In 2004, the state parole board voted to release him.

In the current case, Taylor is accused of aggravated murder, which could lead to the death penalty under Oregon law. One of the aggravating factors in the case is his previous murder conviction.

Taylor's trial is expected to take three to four weeks.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com

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