December 8th, 2008
Rejon Taylor joined 50 other inmates nationwide as a rare federal death sentence was handed out. Taylor was convicted of the abduction and murder of an Atlanta restaurant owner, Guy Luck. The case was made federal because the victim was taken across state lines into Tennessee. This case was the first federal death penalty case in East Tennessee. The jury’s conviction was made official by U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier.
The Chattanooga Free Times Press was recently contacted by one of the jurors with some grave concerns. “Everage Holloway, who sat through the 10-week federal death penalty trial of Rejon Taylor, said he contacted the newspaper because he was concerned that fellow jurors had made up their minds to sentence the 24-year-old to death out of “fear” and the desire to “make an example of him.” Read about this story by clicking HERE.
Mr. Holloway said that, if he had been one of the 12 jurors who actually deliberated, the jury would “still be hung up” on the final punishment since he did not believe Mr. Taylor acted with premeditation when he killed his victim. Prosecutors had to prove premeditation to make the death penalty a legal punishment.
Mr. Holloway also disclosed that he and other jurors talked about evidence and witness testimony before being released to deliberate, a clear violation of jury conduct rules. Mr. Taylor’s defense lawyers said that could prompt a new trial or help to overturn the death sentence those same jurors handed down Oct. 21.
Two other jurors confirmed Mr. Holloway’s statements.”
These facts could prompt a retrial for Rejon Taylor.
“According to veteran trial attorney John C. Cavett, instances of jury misconduct have prompted new trials before, but he said he wasn’t sure whether possible jury misconduct in Mr. Taylor’s case “rises to that occasion.”