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John Taylor stands accused of one of the worst crimes ever committed in the history of New York City. It is alleged that in May 2000 he and an accomplice robbed and executed five of people working in a Wendy's restaurant in Flushing.
Craig Godineaux has already pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. He will spend the rest of his life in prison with no possibility of parole.
Last week Taylors legal team asked that the indictment against their client be thrown out because the grand jury pool was not representative of the Queens population. Ironically, this challenge was presented in the same week that a federal appeals court threw out the conviction of two black men from Brooklyn for the murder of Yankel Rosenbaum, an Orthodox Jew, during the Crown Heights riots. In this case, the justices ruled that the trial judge erred when he selected a replacement juror. The judge made a concerted effort to impanel a jury that was racially and religiously balanced.
It appears unlikely that Taylors lawyers will succeed in anything more than delaying the trial of their client. Grand jury proceedings are not open to the press or the public. However, based on information released at the time of Taylors arrest, it would be the understatement of the year to say the prosecution had a strong case.
The police have the following evidence: a confession from Godineaux saying Taylor was the mastermind and the triggerman; the testimony of two eyewitnesses who survived the attempted execution, one of whom knew Taylor; and a surveillance video taken from Wendys that was found in the Long Island home where Taylor was hiding.
Do Taylors attorneys believe for a moment that there is any grand jury, no matter its ethnic makeup, that would not have found sufficient cause to return a murder indictment against Taylor? Of course not. This is nothing but a legal chess game played out at your expense.
What we have here are two murder trials that struck a nerve in New York City. In the Crown Heights case, the lawyers get a conviction overturned because a federal judge went out of his way to impanel a jury that was racially balanced and in the Queens case the lawyers want an indictment tossed because sufficient effort was not made to impanel a grand jury that was representative of the New York community. Its clearly a case of damned if you do and damned if you dont.
No one has paid much attention to the race, religion or ethnic background of the victims of the Wendys massacre. Its enough to know that they were decent people trying to earn a buck. Its enough to know that the people who bound and gagged them and fired bullets into their heads were heartless monsters. Race has nothing to do with this crime.
For the sake of the victims and their families, the courts should put a quick end to these legal shenanigans and get on with the trial of John Taylor.
Editorial: More race nonsense
The picture of three firefighters raising a flag at Ground Zero on Sept. 11 is destined to be one of the most famous news photos of all time. The picture has served as an inspiration for millions of Americans dealing with the worst attack ever to take place on American soil.
The city is planning to recreate this scene in a bronze sculpture. Thats a great idea. Unfortunately, some have suggested that the statue include one black and one Hispanic firefighter. This is nuts. The original picture captures a moment in history. It has encouraged and comforted people of every race. To bastardize this poignant scene for purposes of political correctness would be a monumental mistake.
©2002 Community Newspaper Group
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