EUGENE, Ore. — The fate of accused murderer 58-year-old David Ray Taylor is now in the hands of the jury. Both sides presented closing arguments Wednesday morning and the jury began its deliberation that afternoon.
The family of 22-year-old Celestino Gutierrez, the victim in this case, was in the courtroom crying throughout the whole ordeal. But, Taylor, the man facing charges, stared straight ahead not showing much emotion. Actual closing arguments took about two hours and now the fate of Gutierrez’s alleged murderer is in the hands of the jury.
Taylor faces more than thirty different charges, all stemming back to August 2012 when 22-year-old Celestino Gutierrez didn’t return home. Prosecutors say Taylor enlisted two accomplices to lure Gutierrez from a bar, torturing and killing him, so they could steal his car for a bank robbery. They allege this was all Taylor’s doing.
Deputy District Attorney Chris Parosa said, “He’s in charge of this entire crime, series of crimes, this criminal enterprise that he’s engaged in, which I guess is his profession. He’s in charge.”
But Taylor’s attorneys argued otherwise, questioning the prosecution’s testimonies.
“The judge will instruct you that the testimony of an accomplice witness should be viewed with distrust,” said defense attorney Brad Cascagnette.
They say the prosecutors failed to prove Taylor is directly responsible for Gutierrez’s death.
“Murder charges require you to know what went on in that residence and who had the specific intent and who actually did these things. You don’t have it,” said Cascagnette.
The prosecution then took the floor once more saying the jury has other evidence that supports all the testimony.
“The trackers, the Brew and Cue video, all of this corroborates the testimony you heard from Ms. Crabtree,” said Parosa
The prosecution said there was also plenty of forensic evidence linking Gutierrez to Taylor’s home.
There are two others involved in this case. 20-year-old Mercedes Crabtree is already serving a life sentence, after pleading guilty to participating in the murder last year. 24-year-old A.J. Scott Nelson is scheduled to go to trial in September.