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John B. TAYLOR

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Robbery in a Wendy's fast-food restaurant
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: May 24, 2000
Date of arrest: 2 days after
Date of birth: 1963
Victims profile: Jean Auguste, 27; Ali Ibadat, 40; Jeremy Mele, 19; Ramon Nazario, 44; and Anita Smith, 23 (restaurant employees)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Flushing, Queens, New York city, New York, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on November 26, 2002. Commuted to life in prison in 2007
 
 

 
 

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The Wendy's Massacre was a brutal killing that took place in a Wendy's fast-food restaurant at 40-12 Main Street in Flushing, Queens, New York, on May 24, 2000.

Robbery and execution of employees

The killings were carried out by 36-year-old John Taylor, a former employee of the restaurant, and his accomplice Craig Godineaux. The robbery was carefully planned, as Taylor had the manager (whom he knew) of the restaurant summon the entire staff to the basement on the pretense of having a meeting.

Once in the basement, Taylor and Godineaux bound and gagged all seven employees at gunpoint and shot each of them in the head at point-blank range with a Bryco-Jennings Model J38 .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol.

All but two of the employees died. One of the survivors dialed 9-1-1, and police arrived to find the victims and discovered $2,400 missing from the safe.

Arrests and trial

The NYPD arrested Taylor and Godineaux less than 48 hours after the killings. Evidence quickly mounted against the pair, including eyewitness testimony, ballistics, and fingerprints. On January 22, 2001, Godineaux pleaded guilty and was later sentenced to life in prison.

On November 19, 2002, Taylor was convicted on 20 counts of murder and attempted murder. One week later, on November 26, the jury sentenced Taylor to death.

Post-conviction

On October 23, 2007, the Court of Appeals of the State of New York, New York's highest court, vacated the death penalty portion of the verdict.

The Queens prosecutor's office fought unsuccessfully to have Taylor's case declared an exception to a 2004 Appeals Court's decision that found New York's death penalty law unconstitutional because of a flaw in its mandated instructions to the jury.

On November 29, 2007 Taylor was re-sentenced to life without parole for the five murders. As of 2007, he had been the only inmate on Death Row in New York.

Victims

Killed in the massacre were:

  • Jean Auguste, 27

  • Ali Ibadat, 40

  • Jeremy Mele, 19

  • Ramon Nazario, 44

  • Anita Smith, 23

Seriously wounded:

  • Ja Quione Johnson, 18

  • Patricio (Patrick) Castro, 23

Wikipedia.org


Craig Godineaux & John B. Taylor

Craig Godineaux, 30, and John Taylor, 36, are accused of entering a Wendy's in Flushing, Queens, on May 24, 2000, and ordering seven employees into a basement freezer.

There, they allegedly bound and gagged their victims with duct tape, placed bags over their heads, then shot them one by one in the head during a robbery.

"[The victims] were marched single file into a big freezer box. They were told to get on their knees, and they were each shot by the defendants once in the head," said Lasak Assistant District Attorney Greg Lasak. Two of the employees survived the attack, in which $3,200 was stolen from the eatery. Police say most of that money was found at Taylor's home.

Craig Godineaux told the cops he didn't wear a mask during the robbery that left five dead and two wounded because "nobody was going to be left." The suspect also allegedly told cops that he put a coat on victim Anita Smith to keep her warm in the basement freezer before she was murdered on May 24.

The new information came out in the Queens courtroom of Supreme Court Justice Robert Hanophy as Godineaux and Taylor were arraigned on five murder charges. Taylor, a former co-worker of some of the victims, was also arraigned on unrelated indictments, charging him with three robberies of McDonald's restaurants in June of last year.

After his arrest on Long Island Taylor told two detectives while en route back to Queens that they should arrest Godineaux. "Please get Craig," Taylor allegedly said. "Please get Craig because I was the only one who saw him shoot those people. I knew three of those people. It was supposed to be a robbery."

In reading the charges against Godineaux, the suspect made it clear to detectives he did not wear a mask because the murders were part of the robbery plan. "This is that fat bastard's [Taylor's] fault," Godineaux allegedly said. "I only shot the survivors." Godineaux later allegedly added. "I shot five of them. I didn't shoot the girl. That fat bastard shot Anita [Smith]. I liked her. I put a coat on her before she went into the freezer."

On January 22, 2001, Craig Godineaux pleaded guilty to murdering three people and wounding two others. According to prosecutors Godineaux, who will be sentenced to five consecutive life sentences without parole, was spared from the death penalty because he is mentally retarded. "I know my apologies to the families will never bring their loved ones back," he said at his sentencing hearing on February 22. "I do deserve what I get. I don't expect nobody to accept my apology." As for Taylor, prosecutors plan to push for the death penalty in his trial.


Wendy's massacre killer John Taylor escapes execution

By Adam Nichols - NYdailynews.com

The last prisoner on New York's Death Row escaped execution Tuesday, effectively burying capital punishment in the state and leaving kin of his victims furious.

The Court of Appeals ruled unconstitutional Wendy's killer John Taylor's death sentence for masterminding the massacre in the Queens fast-food restaurant in 2000.

Taylor and an accomplice, Craig Godineaux, lined up seven Wendy's workers in the basement of the Flushing eatery, blindfolded them and shot them in the head before stealing $2,400. Only two survived.

"I think about my brother every day," said Benjamin Nazario, 53, whose younger sibling Ramon, 44, was among the dead. "Taylor's getting away with murder. He executed my brother, he should be executed."

Taylor, 43, appealed his sentence after a 2004 ruling by the state's highest court that a passage in the law made New York's death penalty illegal. The shortcoming required judges to tell jurors that if they deadlocked, the defendant would be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Critics said that instruction could induce jurors to go for the death penalty rather than risk putting murderers back on the streets.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown argued that Taylor's judge anticipated the problem and told the jury he would "almost certainly impose" a sentence keeping Taylor in prison for the rest of his life.

But in a decision that was split 4-to-3, the court disagreed, declaring the trial charge instruction "coercive."

Brown said there is no doubt that the murders were "one of the most brutal and horrific crimes this city has ever seen."

But he added, "Our state's highest court has now spoken - albeit not with one voice - and it is for all of us to respect its decision."

Taylor will be resentenced to life without parole, the same sentence Godineaux is already serving.

"The [judges] who voted for this, if it was a member of their family who died, they would think like we do now," said Nazario, who still lives in Queens.

"My brother's son is 10 years old. He wants to know why his dad died? Our mother passed away this year. I'm glad she's not here to see this."

The death penalty was reinstated by Gov. George Pataki in 1995, but hasn't been carried out since. The last person to be executed in New York was in 1963, when Eddie Lee Mays went to the electric chair for killing a woman.


Jury Sentences Wendy's Killer To Be Executed

 

 

 
 
 
 
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