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Man Pleads Guilty in Murder of Father's Killer

By Emily Cassulo
By ecassulo@wbbjtv.com

TRENTON, Tenn. - It was a big turn in the case against the Gibson County man accused of murdering his father's killer.

On Tuesday, Don Taylor pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, which his lawyer said could give him less prison time.

The shooting victim's family members told 7 Eyewitness News off camera they are overall pleased with Taylor's plea, but wish he would have been held accountable for the original first degree murder charge.

It has been more than three years since Taylor, 33, shot and killed Darnell Gentry, the man who confessed to killing Taylor's father back in 1990.

Taylor was later charged with first degree murder. In court Tuesday, Taylor pleaded guilty to second degree murder and two counts aggravated assault.

"We were prepared for trial, and would have been ready to go and looked forward to the trial, but Don determined in the end this was in his best interest, and this guarantees that he will get out of jail during his lifetime," said Mark Donahoe, Taylor's attorney.

Police said the shooting happened on the front porch of a home on Lexington Street in Trenton. Those who live nearby said they are still shocked about what happened.

"We just hate for a trajedy like this to happen in our town. We don't usually get this. We usually hear it's far away, but now it's close to us," said Trenton resident James Marsh.

Neither the Taylor family, nor the Gentry family would talk on camera. Taylor's family did say the decision was fair.

"Overall, I think everybody's happy that it was resolved, and happy it was resolved in a manner to guarantee that Don will get to rejoin them later in life," Donahoe said.

Residents agreed it was a smart move to avoid trial.

"It's been a long drawn out thing, and I'm sure that he had time to make his own decision and to me if it was right for him, it's right for me. I'm just glad it's over with," said Trenton resident Flossie Barnes.

Donahoe said Taylor could spend anywhere from 15 to 25 years in prison.

Taylor's sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 5 at 1 p.m. in Gibson County Circuit Court.