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Murder suspect's attorney requests evaluation

By Ed Brock

The attorney for an 18-year-old accused of killing his best friend over an alleged sexual advance has asked that his client undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Adrian Taylor seemed red-eyed and tearful during his preliminary hearing Thursday morning on murder charges in connection with the beating and strangulation death of his 23-year-old long-time friend, Josh Cook. At the end of the hearing Clayton County Magistrate Court Chief Judge Michael Baird bound the case over to the grand jury for indictment consideration.

Around 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 14 Taylor went to see Cook, with whom he had been close friends for eight or nine years, at Cook's house on Elam Street near Forest Park, said Clayton County Police Detective Scott Eskew in his testimony at the hearing.

Eskew talked to Taylor after the incident.

"He was upset but he was willing to talk," Eskew said. "He wanted to get this behind him."

After Taylor went into Cook's house they went to Cook's bedroom to play video games. They had smoked some marijuana and were playing games when Cook stood up, opened his robe, pulled down his underwear to expose himself to Taylor and told Taylor to perform a sexual act on him, Eskew said.

"This upset Adrian who stormed out of the house," Eskew said.

Taylor then sat down somewhere outside and began thinking about the incident.

"The more he thought of it the angrier he became," Eskew said.

Eskew said Taylor told him that he began remembering an incident in which he was raped when he was around 9 years old, an incident Eskew said the Forest Park Police Department had documented.

After growing angrier about the advance, Taylor went to his house and got a "bumper jack" from a shed. He returned to Cook's house, knocked out a security light near the entrance to the home that he intended to use, and quietly entered the house.

He found Cook in his bedroom still playing video games. Taylor swung the jack "like a baseball bat" and hit cook on the back of the head, Eskew said.

"The first blow stunned Mr. Cook," Eskew said.

Taylor then hit Cook four or five more times until Cook fell out of the chair. As Cook lay on the ground he started convulsing and making "strange noises" and Taylor began feeling sorry for Cook, Eskew said.

"Not wanting to see what he was doing, he put a sheet over Josh's face," Eskew said.

Eskew said Taylor told him that he then wrapped a cord from the video game machine around Cook's neck and strangled him in order to end his suffering. He then dragged Cook's body from the room by the cord, taking it outside and leaving it by the side of the house.

Taylor went home where he saw his older brother whom he then told about the killing. The older brother told Taylor to go to a nearby gas station to call police (there is no phone in the home where Taylor and the brother live) while the older brother went to check on the situation at Cook's house. Taylor did as he was told and police found him at the gas station.

Eskew said that Cook had not made sexual advances on Taylor before that night.

Taylor's attorney, Stanley Schoolcraft, questioned Eskew about Taylor's state of mind after the incident.

"Did he seem in any way out of it?" Schoolcraft asked.

Eskew said Taylor did not appear to be "out of it" and that he was sure Taylor understood his Miranda rights when they were read to him.

Also, Eskew told Schoolcraft that Taylor seemed "extremely sincere" when describing what had happened that night.

After Baird made his decision Schoolcraft requested the psychological evaluation which was granted. A bond hearing in the case that was scheduled for today was postponed pending the outcome of the evaluation.

Cook's mother Mary Esposito attended the hearing but declined to comment to the media. A former neighbor and family friend, Paula Thomas, said her son, Cook and Taylor had all known each other since they were children. She said she didn't believe Taylor's testimony.

"I really and truly don't think there was a sexual advance made at all," Thomas said. "I don't believe that happened. I refuse to believe."