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Prosecutors mum about prison time sought in brutal slaying conviction

Derrick Taylor

Derrick Taylor

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Updated: February 10, 2014 11:44AM

A post-conviction hearing on defense motions is scheduled Thursday for Beach Park resident Derrick Taylor, found guilty of first-degree murder in the brutal beating and slashing death of Joy Lee, but prosecutors are waiting until his sentencing hearing to reveal the amount of prison time they will seek for him.

Assistant State’s Attorney Reginald Mathews said Wednesday that he will discuss the issue with the family of Lee, a 48-year-old mother of two from Bristol, Wis., before finalizing the state’s request in terms of prison time, and will make that request at a sentencing hearing yet to be scheduled.

It took a jury less than three hours in November to find Taylor, 40, guilty of on all three counts of first-degree murder lodged against him in the murder of Lee, which occurred on the evening of March 11, 2012, on a street in Trumpet Industrial Park in Zion.

The jury concluded that Taylor meant to kill or cause great bodily harm to Lee, that he knew his actions could result in great bodily harm or death.

Taylor faces a sentencing range of 20 to 60 years in prison at his pending sentencing.

The jury’s verdict followed a surprise admission by Taylor at the end of his trial that he had been at the Zion murder scene the night Lee was killed.

Mathews said Lee was in an abusive relationship with Taylor, and that she provided him with prescription medicine to sell to a third party for profit. She also provided him with sex, and he set her up with prostitution work in North Chicago, according to texts obtained by the prosecution from the phones of Taylor and Lee.

Evidence showed Taylor sent text messages asking Lee to meet him that evening, and that he was upset with her and planned to punish her. Mathews said Taylor beat her “savagely” on a quiet stretch of Trumpet Drive and then used a sharp object to slash her so severely that her head was almost severed.

He was arrested the morning after the murder at his home in Beach Park.

After testimony from a DNA expert who said Lee’s blood was found on the steering wheel of Taylor’s car, Taylor, who had previously denied ever being at the scene, said he had gone there, but found her in a pool of blood, touched her and then fled in fear.

Taylor testified that he had gone to meet Lee at Trumpet Park the night of March 11. He admitted to lying to police during a four-hour interrogation the day after she died, and acted surprised when he was told she was dead. He said he was scared they had already decided he was the murderer.

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