By LARRY KELLER
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
WEST PALM BEACH — A jury decided Tuesday that Anthony Taylor acted with premeditation in shooting and killing his ex-wife's boyfriend in 2004.
Taylor, 50, was found guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated assault and burglary of a dwelling in the December 2004 slaying of Raijon Irving, 37, at the home of Taylor's former wife in suburban Lake Worth and in front of some of their children.
The state will argue for the death penalty May 19.
Taylor, of suburban Lake Worth, pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder in return for a possible sentence of 25 to 50 years in prison, then withdrew his plea.
There is no question that Taylor shot and killed Irving, only debate as to his state of mind. Public Defender Carey Haughwout argued that Taylor was so delusional that he slept with a machete by his bed and was convinced that people were conspiring to kill him. Among them: Irving, the man he killed.
"That's a diseased mind at work," Haughwout said during closing arguments.
Prosecutor Craig Williams agreed that Taylor was depressed, but that's all. Taylor had told people he would kill the wife from whom he had been divorced for five years, and anybody with her, he noted.
"He did exactly what he promised he would do," the prosecutor said. "There were no delusions at all. He chased him down. He kicked the door down so he could murder him."
The jury could convict Taylor of the lesser serious crime of manslaughter if it concludes that he acted in the heat of passion when he saw Irving with his former wife. There is no evidence he went to her home intending to commit a crime, Haughwout contended.
Williams maintained, however, that Taylor saw Irving's vehicle outside his ex-wife residence, returned to his own home to get his handgun, then went back and shot Irving.
"That's never, ever heat of passion," Williams said.