Jury takes weekend to think in murder trial

By Ed Brock

Two mothers will spend the weekend waiting on the decision of 12 people in the strangling death of 23-year-old Joshua Layne Cook by way of a video-game controller cord.

In addition to Cook's mother, the mother of the accused murderer, 19-year-old Adrian Mitchell Taylor also waits on a jury's decision after they began deliberations around lunch time Friday in Clayton County Superior Court.

After a week of hearing evidence in the case, listening to arguments over whether or not Taylor was sane when he bludgeoned and strangled Cook in October 2004, the jury came back around 5 p.m. and asked to break for the weekend.

Earlier in the afternoon Vickey Taylor, Adrian Taylor's mother, sat in the hallway looking out a window. She declined comment but previously had said that she considered the case tragic for both sides.

Inside the courtroom Cook's mother Mary Esposito sat with relatives.

“Just waiting, hopeful,” Esposito said. “I don't expect it to take long.”

Esposito, who testified at the trial, said she thought Clayton County Assistant District Attorney Richard Brown had presented a “very thorough, very sharp,” case.

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.

Defense witness psychologist James Powell had testified that, after administering psychological tests on Taylor, he had determined that Taylor suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and a delusional disorder. Brown called psychologist Pamela Eilender to rebut Powell's testimony and she said that, based on an interview with Taylor, it was apparent that he did not suffer from a mental illness.

The jury will reconvene Monday morning.