Trial of man charged in vicious stabbing death begins
By Jim Newton firstname.lastname@example.org | @JimNewton5 October 29, 2013 2:00PM
Derrick C. Taylor
Updated: December 1, 2013 8:08AM
Joy Lee, a 48-year-old resident of Bristol, Wis., was “viciously and savagely” beaten and stabbed to death on Sunday night, March 11, 2012, on a then-quiet drive in the Trumpet Industrial Park in Zion.
During opening arguments Tuesday in the first-degree murder trial of Beach Park resident Derrick Taylor, prosecutors said they have an abundance of evidence linking Taylor, 39, to the crime, from text messages between him and Lee to DNA evidence showing Lee’s blood in Taylor’s car.
Assistant State’s Attorney Reginald Mathews said Lee and Taylor had a relationship, but it was unequal — with her loving him and craving his attention while Taylor used her for sex and to obtain prescription pills for him to sell.
Mathews said the name Taylor programmed into his cellphone for Lee was “dumb bitch,” an indication of his contempt for her. Mathews said Taylor was angry with Lee when he set up a meeting with her in Trumpet Park, and that a brutal beating turned into much more.
“He slit her neck from ear to ear,” Mathews said.
“On the morning of March 12, Joy Lee was alive. By night’s end, she was erased from existence. The reason for Joy’s early exit from this life was because of that man, Derrick Taylor,” Mathews told the jury, pointing to Taylor, who sat in a gray suit at the defense table.
Taylor was arrested early the morning after the murder and was interviewed for several hours by members of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force at the Zion Police Department.
He has remained in Lake County Jail in lieu of $3 million bond since his arrest.
Mathews said that when officers arrived at Taylor’s Sheridan Road trailer in Beach Park, they pounded on the door and shone lights in the windows, but Taylor did not emerge until an hour and a half later. Blood was found in Taylor’s sink that fit Lee’s profile, Mathews said, and blood that was too diluted to be tested was found in his shower and washing machine.
Defense attorney Louis Pissios countered that the physical evidence in the case will “tell the truth” to the jury and show that Taylor did not kill Lee.
Pissios admitted to the jury that Taylor lied to investigators after he was arrested by denying he had met Lee that night, but added that “telling lies is not murder.” He said both Taylor and Lee had lifestyles that were less than ideal, but that the jury should focus on the facts of the case.
“This is not the Brady Bunch,” he said, noting that Taylor and Lee had a sexual relationship although she was still married and he had a girlfriend.
Pissios also said that Taylor’s girlfriend, a prosecution witness in the case, changed her story to police three times, with each new version containing more specific details.
“The police talked with her and shared facts with her to be sure she had the facts she needed” in the last statement, he said.
Pissios also asked the jury to consider motive, and asked why Taylor would kill a woman who was providing him with sex and with pills he was able to sell to make a profit.
Mathews and Pissios both agreed Lee’s murder was exceptionally brutal, with numerous sharp object and blunt trauma wounds. Mathews said her head was practically severed from her body.
Following opening arguments, witness testimony began with a security consultant describing his coming upon Lee’s still running car and her body lying next to it in a large pool of blood. Zion Police Officer Piotr Jamka, the first respondent at the scene, said he checked Lee for signs of life and, finding none, secured the scene as other police were en route.
Officials said the trial is likely to continue throughout the week and conclude Friday.