Man gets 14-plus years in wife’s stabbing, beating death

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

A 46-year-old Fairview man will spend more than 14 years in prison for beating and stabbing his wife to death in May 2011 after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the case in April.

Taylor

Taylor

Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Dan Reeves sentenced Derrick Dewayne Taylor to a total of 173 months – or 14 years and five months – for the crime during a May 28 hearing at the Shelby County Courthouse.

After Taylor’s sentence was announced, several of his family members gathered in the courtroom burst into tears and shouted, “I love you” to Taylor as Reeves instructed them to leave the courtroom.

Taylor was initially charged with murder after police discovered Denise Harris Taylor dead at the couple’s home in the 100 block of Grande View Lane on May 10, 2011.

Police responded to the residence after receiving a 911 call from one of the couple’s children who discovered the couple unconscious.

Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney previously said the incident stemmed from a domestic altercation, and the couple was in the process of finalizing a divorce. Rigney also said Taylor had “no serious injuries whatsoever” when police discovered him. Taylor was transported to the Shelby County Jail, and eventually released on $250,000 bond.

Prosecutors in the case said Taylor left Denise Taylor in the house after she died, and said the couple’s three boys came home to discover her body.

“The defendant took no responsibility and left her in the home,” Assistant District Attorney Gordon Ladner said, requesting the maximum sentence of 20 years. “This is something that will go with (the three children) for the remainder of their lives.”

Taylor appeared in court on May 28 wearing a tucked-in brown button-up shirt and khakis. Before he was sentenced, Taylor apologized for Denise Taylor’s death, and said “it just happened so fast.”

“I am deeply sorry, and I regret what happened,” Taylor said. “I normally would be able to control her to keep the situation from escalating. My state of mind wasn’t clear because of the meds. In the 10 or 11 years we were married, I never put my hands on her.

Several of Tayor’s family members testified before the sentence was announced, and described Taylor as a “good man,” and asked for the lowest possible sentence of 78 months.