State seeks death penalty for man charged in deaths of mom, toddler

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Darrell Gerard Taylor
Darrell Gerard Taylor

The state is seeking the death penalty in a first-degree murder case involving a violent attack at a Wilmington apartment complex that killed a mother and her toddler and injured two others in September 2015.

During a hearing Wednesday in the state’s case against 35-year-old Darrell Gerard Taylor, who is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, District Attorney Ben David announced before Superior Court Judge Ebern T. Watson his intention to try the defendant for his life.

Taylor, of Wilmington, was indicted April 4 by a New Hanover grand jury on charges of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, felony child abuse, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill or inflict serious injury, robbery with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon, according to court records

Taylor was charged with the deaths of 35-year-old Yawanda Felecia Doe and her 1-year-old girl at an apartment complex in the 4700 block of Greentree Road on Sept. 27, 2015. Police found Doe and her child dead inside a car at the apartments. Investigators say a “violent attack” happened at about 6:30 a.m., and also injured Doe’s surviving child, a three-year-old, and a 46-year-old woman. Taylor is charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon in connection with using the machete to take the 46-year-old victim’s car keys.

Authorities have not said how Doe and her child died.

According to indictments, Taylor is charged with attempted murder in an attack with a machete that injured Doe’s then three-year-old boy, which caused a severe laceration to the child’s arm. The 46-year-old woman who was also injured in the attack was not related to the other victims.

Wilmington police found Taylor outside the apartments, reportedly armed with a weapon, police spokeswoman Linda Rawley said, adding that police were able to take Taylor into custody.

He has remained at the New Hanover County Jail without bond since his arrest on the day of the alleged attack. Taylor made his first appearance in district court in the case on Sept. 28, 2015, when just days after the incident, David made his first public comments about the case.

Multiple deputies escorted Darrell Taylor into court Monday morning. He has been charged with the deaths of a woman and her daughter. Photo by Christina Haley.
Multiple deputies escorted Darrell Taylor into court for a hearing last year. He has been charged with the deaths of a woman and her daughter. Photo by Christina Haley.

According to the N.C. Department of Corrections, Taylor was previously convicted of three felonies, including possession with intent to sell a schedule VI controlled substance, breaking and entering and possession of a schedule II controlled substance. He was also convicted of seven misdemeanors including assault on a female, speeding from police and misdemeanor drug possession.

In the court order signed by Watson on Wednesday, the state announced that the case will show at least one potential aggravating circumstance in the case.

Assistant District Attorney Christa Lawler, along with David, are prosecuting the case for the state. Taylor is being represented by Capital Public Defender Rick Miller.

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