January 24, 2022

Taylor indicted for first-degree murder

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For the alleged March 23 murder of her grandparents Eugene and Celeste McDaniel, Katelyn Taylor was indicted by the Benton County Grand Jury on Oct. 19. The following week, Judge Charles McGinley arraigned her on two charges of first-degree murder on Monday, Oct. 26. Taylor remains in jail with a $500,000 bond. 

Taylor’s original charges of second-degree murder were elevated to first degree based on evidence presented to the Grand Jury by the office of the 24th District Attorney General. Additional investigation by TBI revealed information that led to the first-degree charges. 

“Our office is grateful to the TBI for its hard work on this case, one of the most tragic cases we have ever prosecuted,” said DA Matthew F. Stowe. “Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. We met with the family yesterday and explained the situation. They are heartbroken, as you would expect, but they are strong.”  

As a first-degree murder case, the most serious charge under Tennessee law, the case must be tried by a jury. Because of pandemic social distancing limitations and ongoing efforts to limit the spread of the disease, a trial date has not yet been set.

In fact, McGinley has not set any trials in Benton, Decatur, and Hardin Counties since the outbreak of COVID-19. Stowe noted that because there are older homicide cases awaiting trial in the district as well, it regrettably will be some time before Taylor is tried under the best of circumstances. 

“This case is an extremely high priority for this office, and I will devote whatever time and resources are required to prosecute this case to completion and seek justice on behalf of the victims,” stressed Stowe. “Our office is doing everything it can to encourage the Circuit Judges to begin jury trials in a safe fashion at the earliest possible opportunity.”

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