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Trial for murder of New Hope teen set to begin


Joshua Taylor

Joshua Taylor



Isabelle Altman



An Alabama man will stand trial in Lowndes County Circuit Court this week for the 2011 murder of a New Hope teenager. 


Joshua Taylor, 29, of Reform, is one of two suspects charged with capital murder after being accused of breaking into a home on Harrison Road on May 20, 2011, and shooting 19-year-old William Stallings in the back of the head, according to District Attorney Scott Colom.  


If found guilty, Taylor faces the death penalty or life without parole. Opening statements likely will begin Wednesday. 


Colom said Taylor and several other men broke into the home. Stallings was shot before the men attempted to rob another person in the house. The commission of the murder during a burglary is what makes the case capital murder, Colom said. 


Taylor's attorney, Donna Smith, could not be reached for comment by press time. 


Prosecuting the case will be Assistant District Attorney Armstrong Walters with Circuit Court Judge Jim Kitchens presiding. 


Attorneys in the case spent Monday in Marshall County choosing a jury, which will hear the case in Lowndes County. Choosing juries from other counties is reasonably common in murder trials with heavy publicity, Colom said. 


Deputies with the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office arrested Taylor days after the murder in 2011, along with Brandon Brown, 31, of 516 Fifth Ave. N. in Columbus; and Johnny Brock, Jr., 28; Richard Lee, 25; and Cameron Merriweather, 30, all of Reform, in connection with the murder. A grand jury also indicted Merriweather for capital murder and the other three suspects with accessory after the fact.  


None of the other suspects have gone to trial.




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