Death Penalty Trial Delayed Due To "Inflammatory" Jail Calls

Government Says Taylor Called Jurors "Racist Rednecks"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Judge Curtis Collier on Tuesday morning granted a delay in the Rejon Taylor death penalty trial after defense attorneys objected to "inflammatory" jail phone calls made by Taylor.

Prosecutor Steve Neff said in one recorded conversation that Taylor referred to the jury as "racist rednecks."

He said the taped phone calls "show what kind of a person Taylor is" and should be considered by the jury in deciding whether or not to give him the death penalty. The jury earlier found the 24-year-old Atlanta man guilty of the murder of Atlanta restaurant operator Guy Luck on Aug. 6, 2003, in Collegedale.

Defense attorneys said they were given no warning about the jail calls and said they are meant to "inflame the jury."

Attorney Leslie Corey said she found out about the calls when she visited the prosecutors' office at 5 p.m. Monday.

Prosecutor Neff said calls were also reviewed of co-defendant Sir Jack Matthews, who startled prosecutors when he gave a completely different story than he had told before.

He said Taylor and Matthews talked in some of the phone calls about a story they felt would get their cases "thrown out of Federal Court."

He also said Taylor, who was involved in a failed escape attempt before, also referred to security at the Federal Building. "He talked about what was above him and what was below him."

The prosecutor said it was "a scary look into the heart of" someone who should get the death penalty. He said, "This is an example of why" he should be executed.

Attorney Corey said the government was "trying to put Mr. Taylor in an extremely bad light."

There are 10 hour of phone calls on a CD to be given to the defense, including 50 phone calls. Prosecutor Neff said the calls are over the last two weeks - up through Sunday.

Attorneys are to argue the matter next Monday, then there will be testimony on Tuesday and Wednesday. The jury will return the week of Oct. 6.

The prosecution case is expected to take a day and a half and the defense case about a week.


Get Emailed Headlines From Chattanoogan.com; Like Us On Facebook, Twitter For Instant News

We send out headlines each day of the latest Chattanooga news. Our news headlines have links that take you to the stories with a click. We also send out special emails if there is a highly significant local news story breaking so you will be aware of it quickly. To be added to the email headline list, just email us at news@chattanoogan.com In addition, like us on Facebook ... (click for more)

Senator Overbey Nominated To Be U.S. Attorney For Eastern Tennessee District

State Senator Doug Overbey was nominated by President Trump on Friday to be the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District. Senator Bob Corker said,  “Doug Overbey is an outstanding choice to serve Tennesseans as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District. Doug has had a distinguished law career, spanning nearly four decades, and has served the Volunteer State honorably in the ... (click for more)

Do Something To Protect Our Children

It is unconscionable in this day and age that these children had to exist in such deplorable conditions and that an innocent baby suffered and died alone in a locked car.  Yes, there is blame and accountability considering this family had child neglect charges filed a few years ago (that were apparently dropped and expunged) and a large part of the responsibility should ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Every week I get emails full of inspiration and funny stories. This summer I have gathered a sampling of my weekly harvest and presented the collection as a reminder we ought to cherish laughter with those we love and the weekend. I am not only amazed how popular my ‘Summer Saturdays’ have become but this week I have gotten funnies from California, Texas and Arizona, to mention ... (click for more)

Lookouts Take Second Straight At Mobile Thursday With 4-1 Win

MOBILE, Ala.  -- Nick Gordon scored on a wild pitch in the first inning, leading the Chattanooga Lookouts to a 4-1 win over the Mobile BayBears on Thursday. Gordon scored on the play in the first to give the Lookouts a 1-0 lead after he led off the inning with a single, stole second and then went to third on a groundout. With the score tied 1-1 in the second, the Lookouts ... (click for more)

Katie Tingle Named Covenant Women's Basketball Assistant

The Covenant women's basketball program has announced the hiring of Katie Tingle as the full-time assistant coach for head coach Sarah Harris. Tingle replaces Kiaira Cooper, who recently left the program for an administrative position at Houghton College.  "I am so thankful to director of athletics Tim Sceggel and head coach Sarah Harris for this opportunity to ... (click for more)