Maurice Taylor Sr: California man who decapitated his two kids forced siblings to watch their bodies for 5 days
Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr faces two felony counts each of murder and child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death
A 34-year-old father of four from Southern California was charged on Tuesday, December 8, with decapitating his teenage daughter and 12-year-old son, according to prosecutors. Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr has also been charged for abusing two of his other boys.
Los Angeles County District Attorney´s Office, on Tuesday, announced that Taylor faces two felony counts each of murder and child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death. The father has been charged with fatally stabbing Maurice, 12, and his older sister, Maliaka, 13, on November 29 in Lancaster. The bodies of the children were reportedly discovered nearly five days after the slayings. Prosecutors have said that Taylor, during this time, allegedly showed the bodies of the two teens to their younger siblings, ages eight and nine, and forced them to remain in their bedrooms without food.
The family's friends set up a GoFundMe to raise money for the children, writing: "As you can only imagine there is nothing but shock right now." The fundraiser has raised nearly $2,000 as of Thursday, December 10 morning.
Taylor, a personal trainer at a Santa Monica physical therapy and fitness center, was holding online training sessions over Zoom because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of Taylor's clients, however, alerted authorities after he failed to show up for scheduled appointments. Howard Kern, an attorney, who took personal training sessions with Taylor for nearly seven years, reportedly called the fire department at 7:34 am last week after getting concerned for his trainer's wellbeing.
"I said, 'I'm concerned'. We are concerned about a possible gas leak. There are four children and two adults - and we are concerned about their safety," he told the Los Angeles Times. Taylor's clients described him as "mellow" and "reliable." The fire department eventually discovered the decapitated bodies of two children with lacerations and stab wounds when they forced open the door.
One of the family's next door neighbors, Lauren Henry, told the DailyMail.com: "I remember when each of the four kids were born and I remember the excitement there was surrounding them. As they grew up, it was obvious they had a sense for adventure and new experiences, even at a young age. Maliaka was very smart, very adventurous and observant. She really would have grown to reach her potential. Mo Jr. looked up to his big sister and admired all she did. I’m sure they stuck very close to each other as they grew older and I know they were together in the end. I will always remember their smiling faces."
Taylor, who is being held in lieu of $4.2 million bail, faces a possible maximum sentence of more than 57 years to life in prison, if convicted. The motivation of the attack is currently not known and an investigation is ongoing in the case.
Lancaster Mayor R Rex Parris, described the incident as "brutal," and added that he believed the fallout from the pandemic had created a stressful environment. "What I'm seeing is more and more people feeling desperate, and that can only have one result," he said, according to the Times.