Guilty on all charges

Published 9:29 pm Friday, February 5, 2010

A jury on Friday recommended four life sentences plus 48 years as punishment for a man convicted of abducting, raping and robbing a 21-year-old Suffolk woman in October 2008.

Emotions flowed on both sides of the courtroom on Friday as a Circuit Court clerk read out guilty verdicts for 31-year-old Christopher Rashard Taylor.

After deliberating for three hours, a jury of 12 unanimously agreed with prosecutors that Taylor was guilty of three counts of rape, one count of abduction, one count of robbery, one count of malicious wounding, one count of use or display of a firearm in commission of a felony, one count of stabbing and one count of carjacking.

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Later, the jury recommended a sentence of four life sentences plus 48 years. A sentencing hearing is set for May, at which time the judge can impose the same sentence the jury recommended or reduce it. He cannot increase it.

The victim, who is not being named because she is the victim of a sex crime, said in her testimony that Taylor abducted her from the front door of her apartment that night and raped her in several locations throughout the night. He also slit her throat, took her cell phone, tied her up in the woods off Old Dill Road, and took her car and later abandoned it.

After the woman was left alone in the woods, she freed herself from her bindings and made it to the road, where she asked a man to call 911.

The commonwealth’s forensic case hinged on a condom and one of the bindings — both of which had the defendant’s DNA on them.

Taylor’s mother, Valerie Burton, called her son’s case a “rush to judgment.”

Tonya Bush, a cousin of Taylor’s, was convinced that one juror had decided the case even before opening arguments began.

“I feel in my heart the jury looked at his past convictions,” said Bush, referencing 1999 convictions for robbery and abduction. Taylor was released from prison on those charges in 2004, said his mother.