Mark Taylor Gets Life in Prison for Evrard Death
By Bill Hughes/Candice Freeland
PADUCAH, KY - Mark Taylor has been sentenced to two life sentences without parole for the kidnapping and murder of 21-year-old Casondra Evrard in December, 2010.
The sentence announced to an outpouring of tears by Evrard's family members Friday afternoon in McCracken Circuit Court.
Taylor was also sentenced to 5 years in prison for tampering with physical evidence.
The death penalty was an option for the capital kidnapping charge, since that crime resulted in the death of the victim, but the jury chose the lesser sentence.
The lead investigator in the case, Detective Tim Reed of the McCracken County Sheriff's Department, said he is satisfied with the way the system worked, but there's not much to celebrate.
'Its a no-win situation on something like this. Both families are devestated by the acts that took place on December 10, 2010," Reed said.
Sheriff Jon Hayden added that their investigation of the murder was thorough and convincing.
"Generally speaking, juries usually get it right, and fortunately in this case we were able to gather enough information in our investigation to give the jury plenty of evidence to consider. So we think that this jury had more than ample information and facts to base their decision on. We don't ever want to second-guess the decision of a jury- they felt like this was appropriate. I believe that CaSondra's family are pleased with the outcome. We believe that justice has been served, and that Mr. Taylor will never be able to ever harm anyone else or cause any type of injuries or death to anyone else - ever," Hayden said.
Evrard's family offered their thanks as Reed, Hayden, and prosecuting attorneys all stopped to hug and offer their best wishes to the family before leaving the courtroom.
Circuit Judge Craig Clymer set formal sentencing on April 3 for Taylor, his wife Jamie, and four other defendants who pleaded guilty their charges. If Jasmine Taylor's trial proceeds as scheduled in March, her sentencing would also be on that date.
Earlier on Friday:
It's been a heartbreaking day in McCracken Circuit Court. It's the day that Carla Cruse got to tell everyone about her last communication with her daughter, Casondra Evrard, on Dec. 10, 2010. It was a mid-afternoon text message that said, "Jazzy's out. Going for cake and ice cream... :)"
She would never communicate with her daughter again.
Carla Cruse described her daughter as a girl who said she wasn't going back to kindergarten because her teacher "couldn't say her name right." She took piano lessons for four years and enjoyed girl scouts and the family's miniature ponies. Evrard graduated from Heath High School in 2007. Although she was working as a Certified Nursing Assistant at the time of her death, she planned to return to school and become a cosmetologist.
Her friend Jasmine Taylor's mother, Jamie, confessed to her role in killing Evrard last month as part of a plea deal. Jasmine herself awaits trial in March. And Jasmine's father, Mark, was convicted on Thursday of kidnapping Evrard, murdering her, and tampering with evidence when he moved her body away from the scene of the crime.
When defense attorney Craig Newbern asked Dorothy Taylor what her son Mark was like as a child, she said, "Sometimes he was hard-headed, and sometimes he was the best kid you could ask for."
In an attempt at levity, Newbern said he would not ask her her age because that's something you don't ask ladies. She said, "I don't mind telling you that I'm seventy-five today."
Taylor's children addressed the jury, saying they love their Dad. His children include his eleven-year-old son, who, when Judge Craig Clymer asked him to raise his right hand and promise to tell the truth, he paused to make sure he was raising the correct hand. He said of his Dad, "He is nice. He is fun."
On Thursday, the jury of two men and ten women deliberated for about 8 hours Thursday before convicting Taylor.
Taylor's wife, Jamie, was a key witness after she entered a guilty plea and then testified for the prosecution. She told the jury that Mark said he "stuck her like a pig" after the couple and their daughter Jasmine allegedly tortured Evrard in their bathtub on December 10, forcing her to admit that she arranged to have 3 men rape Jasmine at a party during the previous week. The men Jasmine accused testified that they hardly knew Evrard, that they never touched Jasmine, and that all the men at the party were gay. Jasmine spent 5 days in a mental facility before telling her parents she was raped.
Taylor's sister, Denise Marshall, told the court as a defense witness that Jamie was the one who wanted to harm Evrard, and that Mark was reluctant to invite her to the home on the day she died. She testified that she was in the car when Evrard was brought to the home; that she was on the front porch and heard scuffling sounds inside, but did not know exactly what had happened.
Four people, including Marshall, pleaded guilty to complicity to kidnapping in relation to Evrard’s death. After her plea deal, Jamie Taylor faces two life sentences with parole eligibility in 20 years for her part in the murder. Jasmine Taylor is the only other defendant whose case is still pending. Her trial is set for March.
On the Net: Related Story: Jury Has Case in Mark Taylor Trial