Crime

Former Manatee deputy found guilty of killing wife

MANATEE -- Former Manatee County Sheriff's Office corrections deputy Robert Taylor was found guilty Friday afternoon of killing his wife in 2008.

The jury deliberated for about 2 1/2 hours before finding Taylor guilty of second-degree murder. He faces the possibility of life in prison when he is sentenced June 14.

Taylor was convicted after a week-long trial.

On Sept. 11, 2008, when deputies arrived at the former deputy's home in the 7300 block of Caladesia Drive, Taylor told investigators he had removed his wife, Pamela, from the deep end of the pool and placed her at the steps, an arrest report shows.

But during the investigation, detectives discovered details of possible domestic abuse and a life insurance policy. Taylor was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in February 2011.

In closing arguments Friday, prosecutor Art Brown said that the motive behind Taylor killing his wife was money. Pamela Taylor had taken a life insurance policy two weeks before she died, but her name was spelled wrong in the policy. Brown said it was Taylor who filled out the application online.

Taylor also never mentioned to detectives the life insurance policy until they found out about it and confronted him, Brown said.

Brown also told the jury that after Pamela Taylor’s death, the retired deputy only said negative things about her in interviews with authorities.

“When you look at Mr. Taylors remarks about his wife, he’s still complaining about her after she’s dead,” Brown said. “She was an irritant to him, an inconvenience.”

He had told detectives Pamela had a “nasty” attitude when she drank and that she had “no respect” for some of Taylor’s wine glasses that she allegedly broke.

But defense attorney Peter Belmont said that the ribs and bruising found on Pamela’s body is not enough to consider homicide, adding that the medical examiner couldn’t provide a specific date when those injuries were inflicted.

“How does some simple bruising of the leg equate to murder?” Belmont said.

Belmont also said that Taylor wasn’t in need of money, like the state portrays, because he wasn’t in any significant debt and received a pension.

“Where was the reason for money?” Belmont said, later adding “You follow the law and return a verdict of not guilty.”

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