Accused murderer doesn’t take stand in second day of trial

JACKSON, Tenn. — Accused murderer Craig Taylor decided not to take the stand in his own defense Wednesday, charged with killing Devon Staten as he defended his girlfriend outside their east Jackson home back in 2012.

It’s a move his lawyer says is calculated.

“Typically, defendants don’t testify on their own behalf,” Taylor’s defense attorney, Joseph Taggert, told WBBJ Wednesday after court adjourned. “Nothing unusual about that. It’s a strategic decision.”

Taggert called Taylor’s mother, stepfather and brother to testify Wednesday afternoon.

The judge excused the jury during part of the stepfather’s testimony. If ruled admissible, the jury will hear a recording.

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 6.09.42 PMBarry Cockrell said his wife and Taylor were in the neighborhood renovating a home the night of the shooting, but he couldn’t say where Taylor was when he heard gunshots.

“He wasn’t in my presence,” Cockrell said. “He went to the residence with me, but at the time that I heard the shooting, I didn’t see him visually, no.”

Earlier in the day prosecutors presented evidence about the weapon used to kill Devon Staten, but the defense argued they couldn’t link Taylor to either set of bullets found at the scene.

“We think we know which firearm the victim had just based upon where the expent cartridge shells were found, but no, there’s been no bulletistic evidence to connect the firearm to anyone,” Taggert said.

Taylor faces charges of first-degree murder, felony murder and attempted aggravated robbery.

The jury in Taylor’s case is made up of 13 people: 12 women and one man.

Court is scheduled to begin again Thursday morning.

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