Martinez murder trial begins

The murder trial of a Martinez woman began Wednesday and jurors were told of a bloody scene that first-responders found at the apartment she shared with the victim.

Yvette Taylor, 47, is charged with murder in the February 2012 death of her roommate, Theodore Crew, 63.

Taylor called authorities early on the morning of Feb. 11. She told the dispatcher, “When I woke up this morning, my friend was dead.”

But first-responders found a bloody scene inside the Applecross Apartments unit.

“Throughout this apartment from the very entrance, there was blood everywhere,” District Attorney Ashley Wright said.

Taylor initially told authorities that she left the apartment she shared with Crew about 1 a.m. and returned seven hours later to find Crew unresponsive on the bathroom floor. Taylor was Crew’s friend and caregiver.

“Nobody saw this crime occur, so no one can say what happened,” Taylor’s attorney, Amanda Morris, said. “I don’t think anyone who called 911 would be trying to cover up anything.”

Authorities found Crew’s nude body on a wet bathroom floor, but very little blood in the bathroom, Columbia County sheriff’s Sgt. Ken Summers testified. Bleach was used in an attempt to clean the bathroom and a carpet in the main living area, he said.

Taylor’s mother and aunt, who lived in an apartment across from Applecross, initially said Taylor spent the night but later recanted and told investigators that she arrived that morning with a bag. The bag, which investigators say contained bloody clothes and a box cutter, was found in a wooded area behind the complex.

Investigators found a plastic lawn chair with blood on and around it and a trail of blood leading to the bathroom inside the apartment.

Crew was found lying nude on the bathroom floor, and his clothes were in the bathtub.

Taylor’s mother, Irene, said Taylor woke her the next morning and said Crew was dead. She and a family friend went to the apartment before Taylor called 911.

“I saw (Crew) laying on the bathroom floor,” Taylor’s mother said. “I saw a cut on his face.”

Crew had a large gash to his face and another on his arm. He died from a combination of sharp and blunt force trauma, Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins said after an autopsy.

Wright said Crew suffered from several health problems, but “was doing just fine until the night the life was literally beat and cut out of him.”

Some of Taylor’s neighbors told deputies they heard noises coming from the apartment early that morning including what sounded like someone moving something heavy across the floor.

Lorenzo Nealious, Taylor’s neighbor, said he heard cursing, grunting and scuffling through his bathroom wall, which abuts Taylor’s apartment. Nealious said he was disturbed by what he heard and planned to call authorities the next day.

“Guilty or not, I just know how I felt,” Nealious said. “I felt weird.”

After her arrest, Taylor told jailers, “I cut him,” and that she was in an abusive relationship. She’d told neighbors that she was tired of cleaning up after Crew.

Taylor has been held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond since her arrest.

Testimony is expected to continue today.

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