"I was a mistake of nature, a mad beast."
It was the 4th of April 2015. A Saturday. That morning, twenty four year old Amanda Taylor broke into a house in Ellett, Virginia, United States. It wasn't just any house. The house belonged to her father in law, Charles Taylor. She entered his home early in the morning and stole money to buy gifts for Easter for her two children.
Amanda knew Charles well as she married his son, Rex Taylor. They met at school and had a son and then a daughter. She was devoted to him for a time but Rex had battled with drug addiction and depression for years. In April 2014, they separated and Rex moved in with his father. In August 2014, Rex took his own life outside his father's home. He hanged himself in a shed on his son's seventh birthday. Amanda blamed Charles for his son's suicide. She believed that Charles gave Rex drugs when he was just fifteen years old and that addiction and substance abuse caused his suicide.
Charles and Rex
Amanda wasn't content with just stealing from Charles. She wanted to punish him further but needed help. Amanda and her friend Sean Ball devised a plan. Amanda and Sean were just friends but Sean was attracted to Amanda and wanted to please her.
Amanda and Rex
Sean claimed to be an ex-Special Forces Navy man. He told Amanda he was involved in killing in combat. That wasn't true. Sean was not involved in that. He just said that as it was the kind of information and details that Amanda wanted to hear. She loved serial killers, killing and blood. Amanda and Rex had a fascination with mass murders and death and Sean was aware of that.
Amanda and Sean stole weapons and firearms from a friend's house and bought ammunition and magazines for them. The two of them entered Charles' home and Amanda saw Charles lying on the couch and attacked him. She began stabbing him repeatedly. Charles screamed for help and tried to pull Amanda's hair to stop her from stabbing him. She asked Sean for help. Sean hit Charles in the back of the head with a tire iron. He struck him at least five times with the tire iron. Amanda continued stabbing Charles.
When Charles was dead, Amanda took a selfie picture of her beside his body and the knife which was covered in blood. She posted it on her social media account and referred to herself as the "Brunette Bomber."
Charles was just fifty nine years old and was stabbed thirty one times. At least eleven of the blows with a bayonet-style knife would have been fatal.
On Facebook, Amanda posted:
"I proudly did this for Rex. I love my children but Charlie killed my husband."
She shared images of a gun online .
Amanda and Sean left the house and drove down the Blue Ridge Parkway from Virginia towards North Carolina. Police traced them via surveillance videos from gas stations. They stopped to buy more ammunition and spent the night in Tennessee.
Amanda loved the thrill she felt after stabbing Charles and did not want to stop there. At the Blue Ridge Parkway, Amanda told Sean she wanted him to kill two young girls she saw in the area. Sean did not want to do it and refused. Amanda pointed her gun directly at Sean and pulled the trigger, shooting him in the face.
Amanda left Sean but not before taking another picture of her crime. She posted the following to her social media account:
“Everything i did was for the right reasons. I stabbed my father in law to death because he destroyed my husband with drugs..depression. i wasnt the perfect wife but this was one last good thing i could do for rex i dont care what anyone thinks i loved rex more than the world. This was for you <3 seans dead, but i finally have closure with rex after charlie. If you keep looking for me more will die. Just let me get to the place rex & i always wanted & ill be free without having to kill more. Till we rot rex, till we f***ing rot<3”
Police arrested her in North Carolina and brought her to the police station for questioning. Amanda loved talking about what she did and admitted everything. But she wasn't aware of all the details. Even though she shot Sean in the face, he was not dead. Police told her the bullet passed through his jaw, causing him only to pass out from the pain. He was very much alive.
Amanda told police that she wanted the death penalty. But when it came to her Trial date, she decided to plead not guilty instead. The Prosecution's case was strong. They had Amanda's confession, the picture of her with the body, interaction with friends and confessions via her social media accounts.
The defense didn’t deny that Amanda killed Charles but claimed she believed the act was justified and that love is a:
"powerful and overwhelming motivator."
It took the jury less than thirty minutes to find Amanda guilty of first-degree murder. She was sentenced to life in prison. Sean took a plea deal. He agreed to plead guilty in exchange for sixty years, to be suspended after forty one years.
Sean will serve forty one years and one month of that sentence, then be placed on ten years probation.
Sean expressed remorse at his sentencing hearing and said that he was sorry to everyone involved, especially to the family of Charles Taylor and to his own family.
Sean confessed to entering Charles Taylor's home with a tire iron hidden in the back of his pants. According to Sean, as Amanda stabbed Charles, Charles reached for the bayonet. Sean wanted to protect Amanda and did not want her to get hurt and he confessed that he hit Charles with the tire iron five to six times while Amanda was stabbing him. He had promised Amanda that if she ended up killing someone, he would go on the run with her. He did but did not want to hurt anyone else.
According to Sean, Amanda also wanted to kill Charles Taylor's father. He lived in the same house but Sean convinced her not to.
In contrast, Amanda did not regret anything she did. She said:
“I have absolutely no remorse for what I did to Charlie Taylor at all. I did exactly what I wanted to do.”
Amanda tried to blame Charles for the reason Rex is dead and therefore the murder was somehow justified. That is of course untrue. The reality is that Amanda did not need any excuse to kill. She happily murdered Charles, tried to murder Sean and would have murdered the two girls they saw when on the run and more if given the chance. Luckily, she will spend the rest of her life in prison.
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"The criminal justice system will take a hard look at what happened to Matthew Eappen. It is up to the rest of us to take an even harder look at who is minding our children."
- Eileen McNamara, the Boston Globe
"The effects of abuse are devastating and far reaching. Domestic violence speaks many languages, has many colors and lives in many different communities."
- Sandra Pupatello
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