Strangling trial heads to closing arguments

By Ed Brock

In a videotaped interview with police, Adrian Mitchell Taylor gave details about the murder he had previously said he didn't remember committing.

Taylor, 19, on trial for murder in the Oct. 14, 2004 strangulation killing of friend Joshua Cook, is using a defense of insanity. On the stand Wednesday, Taylor admitted to the killing, but said he did not remember the details.

On Thursday, however, prosecutors showed a video of the police interview taken only a few hours after the killing that occurred. According to Taylor, Cook made a sexual advance toward him that triggered a flashback to an earlier molestation by another man. In that interview Taylor recounts that prior to choking Cook to death with the cord of a video game controller, he hit Cook with a “bumper jack” five times on the head.

“I hit him in the head and then I hit him in the head and then again,” Taylor said on the tape.

At the beginning of the interview, Taylor told investigators that Cook was “one of my best friends.” He said he had gone to Cook's house on Elam Road around 4 a.m. to play video games and smoke marijuana.

After a while Taylor said Cook stood up and exposed himself so Taylor “stormed out of the room.” He went down the road and thought about the incident for about 25 to 30 minutes before deciding to go back to Cook's house to kill him.

“I decided to take action but it was the wrong thing to do,” Taylor said in the interview.

Taylor described to detectives that he grabbed the jack from a shed in his backyard because it was the first thing he saw. He went back to Cook's house, “snuck in, crept down the hall” and came into Cook's bedroom.

“He was at the computer and as I went to hit him in the head he looked back, but I don't think he said anything,” Taylor said.

According to previous testimony at the trial, the beating with the jack did not kill Cook, but probably left him unconscious. The cause of death was strangulation from the video game cord.

The video was shown as part of Assistant District Attorney Richard Brown's rebuttal to Taylor's defense of insanity. Brown also called psychologist Pamela Eilender to rebut the defense's expert who testified Wednesday that Taylor suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and a delusional disorder.

Eilender said psychological tests administered to Taylor by defense psychologist James Powell that it appeared the symptoms had been exaggerated. Powell had written on the test that the results should be used with caution.

“It should have been invalid,” Eilender said. “I would not base a diagnosis on a profile in which the symptoms have been exaggerated.”

Also, Eilender did not administer tests to Taylor because after interviewing him she was certain that he did not suffer from a mental illness.

Both sides are expected to make their closing arguments this morning.