New Defense Attorney To Be Assigned To Suspect In Cab Driver Murder Trial

(MT. VERNON, IL) — Now that the judge is in place for the Mark Taylor Jr. murder case, a new defense attorney must be found. That is because current defense attorney, Paige Strawn, has withdrawn from the case due to a conflict. Strawn made the motion to withdraw from the case on Tuesday, citing a conflict of interest due to representing a witness in the case. That motion was granted by Judge Thomas Tedeschi, the third judge to be assigned to the case after Judge David Overstreet was assigned to the Appellate Court and can no longer hear circuit court cases and a motion was made to substitute Overstreet’s replacement, Judge Barry Vaughn. Taylor was given an opportunity to hire his own attorney, which Taylor indicated that he could not. The 24 year old Taylor is one of four men charged in the 2011 fatal shooting of 75 year old Charles Ellis in Ellis’ cab during a botched robbery attempt. A status hearing for Taylor has been set for 1 p.m. April 10. His April 18 jury trial date has been vacated. Demandre Black pled guilty to aggravated battery with a firearm in October 2015 and was sentenced to 20 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Christopher Wells pled guilty in 2012 to first-degree murder but has not yet been sentenced. He filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea and the motion is still pending. He was also granted a motion to substitute judges and a follow-up court date is to be set. Damondros James pleaded guilty to felony murder and has a sentencing hearing set for 1:30 p.m. April 7. Part of his plea deal requires him to cooperate in the prosecution of his co-defendants.