GALLIPOLIS — Three of the four individuals charged in connection with the death of Zane Taylor last summer have been sentenced in the Common Pleas Court of Gallia County, while the fourth co-defendant is awaiting her final court date.
Common Pleas Judge D. Dean Evans handed down sentences last week to James C. Garrett, 22, Point Pleasant, Eugene O. Wasonga, 25, Point Pleasant, and Steven L. Williams, 31, Bidwell, while Lacey S. Redmond, 26, Gallipolis, is scheduled to be sentenced next week in the common pleas court.
The four suspects were arrested following the June 11, 2012, death of Taylor, 33, at his home located at 1841 Ohio 218, south of Gallipolis.
Reportedly, the four suspects entered Taylor’s residence on the afternoon of June 11 with a plan to rob him — an incident that later led to the victim’s death.
The four suspects traveled together to the victim’s home where Redmond, who was familiar with the victim, reportedly made initial contact. The remaining three suspects then allegedly entered Taylor’s home to rob the victim of money and items of value that may be located throughout the residence.
The suspects reportedly told investigators that it was Garrett’s pre-arranged “job” to hold the victim to prevent his involvement in the robbery.
According to expert witness testimony given during a preliminary hearing last year, autopsy reports indicated the discovery of hemorrhaging in the musculature of the victim’s neck, as well as contusions to the head in the eye and ear area.
Following the robbery, the four reportedly exited the residence, loaded their vehicle with stolen items and subsequently disposed of the unwanted stolen property along Raccoon Creek Road, where it was later discovered by police.
Redmond, Williams and Wasonga were later indicted and charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, aggravated robbery and complicity to commit murder, while Garrett, who was also charged with one count of aggravated robbery and one count of complicity to commit aggravated robbery, was the only suspect charged with murder in this case.
After negotiating a plea agreement late last year, Wasonga pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and one count of tampering with evidence, while, last month, Williams also pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and one count of tampering with evidence.
Garrett, who was scheduled to appear for a jury trial on February 27, negotiated a last-minute plea deal, entering a plea of guilty to involuntary manslaughter on the date of the trial.
During sentencing on March 5, Garrett was sentenced to serve a total of 11 years in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction for involuntary manslaughter. He will also face a mandatory period of five years of post release control (a period of supervision by the Adult Parole Authority) and was given credit for 261 days served.
Wasonga and Williams, who both appeared before Judge Evans on March 6, were both sentenced to 30 months in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction for robbery and a total of 12 months for tampering with evidence, sentences ordered to be served consecutively for a total of three years and six months.
Both will be subject to a mandatory period of three years of post release control for robbery and an optional period of three years of post release control for tampering with evidence.
Wasonga was credited for a total of 183 days served, while Williams was given credit for 264 days served.
Williams was also sentenced in two unrelated common pleas cases last week. In his 2011 case, Williams pleaded guilty in February to possessing two amphetamine (Adderall XR) tablets on July 26, 2011, and was sentenced on March 6 to serve a total of 12 months of incarceration in relation to this case.
In a second 2012 case, Williams also pleaded guilty last month to one count of trafficking in drugs after he sold or offered to sell less than five grams of crack cocaine on May 8, 2012.
He was also sentenced to serve a total of 12 months of incarceration in relation to this case, a sentence ordered to be served consecutively with his other two common pleas cases for a total of five years and six months.
Both Williams and Wasonga were ordered to have no contact with the family of Zane Taylor.
Redmond, who pleaded guilty in February to aggravated robbery and complicity to involuntary manslaughter, was initially scheduled to appear for sentencing on Tuesday. However, the sentencing hearing in this case was continued on a motion by the defense as Redmond has “pending motions before this court that could directly affect her sentencing date.”
On Tuesday, with consent of the State of Ohio, Redmond’s bond was reduced to a $100,000, own recognizance bond.
The court ordered that the defendant be released upon payment of a $60 for the Rotary Reparations Fund and the sum of $25 for the Indigent Application Fee and the sum of $25 for the Bail/Bond Surcharge Fee.
This matter was continued for sentenced at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19.