Low Amount Paid To Defense Attorneys In Shooting Case

(MT. VERNON, IL) — While the first-degree murder case in Jefferson County against 24-year-old Mark Taylor Jr. had dragged on for nearly six years, with no real end in sight, the amount taxpayers have spent defending Taylor is surprising. According to Jefferson County State’s Attorney Sean Featherstun, defense attorneys in the Taylor case have been paid less than $14,000 in nearly six years. Featherstun says the surprisingly low number is in part thanks to private defense attorney Paige Strawn working the case pro bono for nearly three years. Taylor is one of four men arrested and charged in connection with the May 2011 shooting death of 75-year-old cab driver Charles Ellis during a botched robbery. Of the three others, Demandre Black pleaded guilty in 2015 to aggravated battery with a firearm and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Christopher Wells, who was a juvenile at the time of the murder, has pleaded guilty but has not been sentenced. And 23-year-old Damondros James was scheduled to be sentenced Friday after he pleaded guilty to one count first-degree murder. Taylor is due in court today for a status hearing. Since his arrest he has been appointed four different defense attorneys and has remained in the Jefferson County Jail with bail set at $300,000.