Mt. Vernon Register-News


May 3, 2014

Attorneys argue suppression motion

MT. VERNON — Judge David Overstreet has taken under advisement a new motion raised by attorneys representing 21-year-old Mark Taylor to have his statement to police suppressed.

Attorney Meagan Carnine and co-counsel Paige Clark Strawn filed the motion recently after Overstreet took over the case.

A previous motion to suppress was denied by Judge Tom Dinn.

Taylor is one of four men accused in the May 31, 2011, shooting death of Mt. Vernon cab driver, 75-year-old Charles Ellis.

The original motion was denied two years ago. Trial dates had been set for Taylor until his former attorney, Jerry Crisel, was appointed to sit on the bench in the Second Judicial Circuit and then vacated.

That’s when Carnine was appointed and the new motion to suppress was filed in March of this year, based on new evidence, according to court records. Strawn recently joined Carnine as co-counsel in the case.

The state met its burden in showing Taylor’s statement was given voluntarily when he waived his Miranda rights, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Darrin Rice.

Carnine argued Taylor’s confession has to be “knowing,” and with some level of intelligence.

A clinical psychologist who testified on behalf of the defense, Dr. Frank Kosmicki, said when he examined Taylor in 2008 at the request of the Department of Child and Family Services, the defendant had “mild retardation” and was a victim of post traumatic stress disorder, as a result of witnessing the murder of one of his parents. He also said Taylor had an I.Q. of 62, which the doctor described as in the “low to moderate” range.

It was pointed out the clinical definition of mental retardation has been changed to “intellectually challenged” by today’s standards.

Kosmicki testified Taylor was in special education as a ninth-grader and he had a history of behavioral problems. He also had some history of drug abuse — testimony revealing that Taylor smoked marijuana just hours before the homicide.

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