As a teenager, authorities say, Rejon Taylor began an elaborate identity theft scheme with the help of two friends in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. Authorities say Mr. Taylor in 2003 led the charge to kill one of the victims, Guy Luck, because he was afraid the wealthy businessman had caught on to their scam and was talking to police. The trio kidnapped Mr. Luck from his home and drove him to a remote Collegedale road, where Mr. Taylor fired a fatal shot into the victim’s mouth, authorities say. Mr. Taylor’s two friends pleaded guilty in 2006 to their roles in the crime and testified against him at the trial. He was convicted in early September of all charges, and the jury eventually sentenced him to death in late October. An execution date is expected today.
A young man sentenced to death for kidnapping and killing an Atlanta restaurant owner is expected to learn his execution date today.
Those who successfully prosecuted Rejon Taylor in October, however, said Tuesday that the case has, in some respects, only begun and likely will last through years of appeals as a defense team tries to save Mr. Taylor’s life.
Mr. Taylor, who will be in federal court today in front of U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier, already has an appeal under way in his case, which lasted through 10 weeks of emotional court testimony and was the first-ever death-penalty trial in the history of Eastern Tennessee’s federal courts district. Normally the domain of state judicial systems, seeking the death penalty in the federal system is extremely rare.
If Mr. Taylor’s death sentence — which a jury delivered on Oct. 21 after finding him guilty of first-degree murder, kidnapping and carjacking — is formalized today by a judge, he will join just 50 other federal inmates now on death row across the nation.
In motions filed with the court, Mr. Taylor’s defense attorneys are asking for a new trial and for a federal judge to question the legality of Mr. Taylor’s death sentence in the first place.
They claim the prosecution did not prove that Mr. Taylor planned the murder of victim Guy Luck, although premeditation must exist for the death penalty to be legal in the federal system.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Poole said Friday that the jury made the “right decision.”
All jurors indicated they believed that Mr. Taylor had sought to kill Mr. Luck on the day in 2003 when Mr. Taylor and two friends kidnapped the victim from his Atlanta driveway, drove him across the state line to Collegedale and fired the fatal shot.