Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jurors = 'racist rednecks'

Posted By on Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 9:28 PM

taylor.jpg

Note to Rejon Taylor: When a federal jury is determining whether you should be sentenced to the death penalty — and when authorities are listening to your phone calls from the county jail — it's probably not the best idea to call the jurors hearing your case a bunch of "racist rednecks." Just saying.

Lawyers for Taylor, who was convicted in Chattanooga last week of the murder of Atlanta restaurateur Guy Luck, are trying to suppress the recorded phone calls, according to a story posted today in Chattanoogan.com. As a result, the sentencing phase of Taylor's trial, which was underway, has been postponed until Oct. 6.

According to the story:

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

During 10 hours of recorded phone calls, Taylor also spoke with his co-defendant, Sir Jack Matthews, about Matthews' testimony in the trial. Matthews, a government witness who pleaded guilty and was spared the death penalty, surprised prosecutors when he took the stand and reversed an earlier version of events — with some wild accusations about the murder victim.

Chattonoogan.com reported that prosecutor Steve Neff offered some insight as to why Matthews offered the story he did:

Neff said Taylor and Matthews talked about a story they felt would get their cases "thrown out of Federal Court."

(Photo of Rejon Taylor, courtesy of the DeKalb County jail.)

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