Kentucky woman shot daughters dead after killing husband over money as she didn't want them to live without her
Courtney Taylor has been sentenced for life and insists that she doesn't remember killing her daughters
WILLIAMSBURG, KENTUCKY: A Kentucky mother who shot and killed her husband over a money dispute before killing her daughters and attempting suicide will spend the rest of her life behind bars.
Officers from the Whitley County Sheriff's Office responded to the Williamsburg home of Courtney Taylor on January 13, 2017, and were greeted by the 44-year-old pointing a 9 mm handgun at them, according to People.
Sheriff's deputy Jonas Saunders fired two shots that struck Taylor, following which they found the bodies of her husband, Larry Taylor, 56, and her two teenage daughters, Jessie Taylor, 18, and Jolee Taylor, 13. Each was in a separate bedroom.
Taylor, who allegedly tried to commit suicide before the officers' arrival and was left recovering in the hospital after she was shot, admitted to killing all three. She blamed the shooting on her husband and said he had spent most of a $264,000 worker's compensation settlement that she had received six months before the incident. She said she then shot her daughters because "she didn't want them growing up without a mother." However, she insisted she otherwise had no memory of the killings.
In February, Taylor entered an Alford plea to three counts of capital murder in connection to the shootings. While technically a guilty plea, the defendant does not admit to the criminal act they have been accused of and asserts their innocence but still admits the prosecution has enough evidence to convict them. The plea averted a trial where prosecutors were reportedly planning to seek the death penalty.
Jackie Steele, one of the prosecutors involved in the case, said she had considered Taylor's claim that she did not have any memory of the shooting and weighed three factors before deciding to offer her the Alford plea.
"One is the drug use, which she said she participated in [while] trying to commit suicide that day," Steele explained. "Whether or not she did, I don’t know. The second thing is where she was shot twice in effectuating her arrest. Post-traumatic trauma syndrome is a possibility where there can be memory loss. Also, she had multiple surgeries and was under anesthesia for the two gunshot wounds for several days after the events, which can also cause some memory loss."
"Taking those three factors, there was a possibility that she couldn’t remember anything," he said, adding that the plea deal was an attractive option because the 44-year-old "will never walk out of prison."
He had previously said he had been in contact with the victims' family and that they understood that a death penalty by a jury trial is not something that would proceed during her life and that she would likely die of natural causes in the penal system anyway.
Accepting the Alford plea, Judge Jeff Burdette officially sentenced Taylor to life in prison without the possibility of parole, reported the Times-Tribune. He said he made the decision after reviewing the pre-sentence investigation, the victim impact statements, the circumstances of the defendant, and several other factors.
He said that the wait for justice was now over the family.