The sentencing hearing for a Williamsburg woman, who allegedly killed her husband and two teenage daughters in their southern Whitley County home on Jan. 13, 2017, has been delayed again.
On Feb. 19, Courtney Taylor, 44, entered an Alford plea to three counts of capital murder in the shooting deaths of her husband, Larry Taylor, 56, and her two daughters, Jesse Taylor, 18, and Jolee Taylor, 13.
An Alford plea means that a defendant still maintains their innocence but acknowledges that prosecutors likely have enough evidence to convict them at trial.
Prosecutors had planned to seek the death penalty during her scheduled March 2 trial, but instead recommended a sentence of life without any possibility of parole in exchange for her plea.
Taylor’s formal sentencing hearing was initially scheduled for April 8 in Whitley Circuit Court, and then was postponed until May 5 because of the COVID-19 shutdown of all in-person court activities across the state.
Special Judge Jeffery Burdette’s office notified the Whitley Circuit Court Clerk’s Office Monday that the sentencing hearing was being postponed until the judicial center opens back up to the public.
No definitive date has been set yet, but late June or early July dates have been discussed as possibilities.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kentucky Supreme Court has ordered all judicial centers and circuit court clerk’s offices across the commonwealth to be closed to the public through the end of May. Because of the closures, the vast majority of court hearings and court proceedings have been canceled or postponed.
During trial, jurors would have been able to hear a nearly 90-minute statement that Courtney Taylor gave to police from her hospital bed days after the shooting that explains in part why she killed her husband and her two daughters.
Part of the reason she killed her husband was that she blamed him for going through most of her more than $250,000 worker’s compensation settlement in a few months although the money was in an account in her name only, according to a portion of her statement to police that was played in open court during a July hearing.