A man charged with killing a woman and her mother, attempting to kill the woman's husband, kidnapping her two daughters, setting fire to the family's cabin and stealing a car has pleaded guilty to two counts of capital murder.
Von L. Taylor, 26, entered his guilty pleas Wednesday before 3rd District Judge Frank Noel as part of a plea bargain with the Summit County attorney's office. But prosecutors still plan to seek the death penalty against him, said Aloma Ercanbrach, a paralegal with the attorney's office.Taylor and Edward S. Deli, 22, are charged with the execution-style killings of a Texas woman and her blind mother, a Murry resident, who was spending the Christmas holidays in their Summit County cabin. Both men are accused of participating in a crime spree in the Oakley area on Dec. 22 after escaping from a prison halfway house.
In exchange for Taylor's guilty pleas, prosecutors agreed to drop seven other felony charges, including attempted murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated arson and two counts of aggravated kidnapping among others.
A penalty phase hearing for Taylor is tentatively scheduled for May 15. Taylor is entitled, under Utah law, to have evidence presented before a jury, which would decide whether he should receive life in prison or the death penalty. Taylor could decide, however, to waive the jury and have the judge listen to the evidence and decide between the two fates.
Deli is scheduled to stand trial on two counts of capital murder and seven other felony charges next week. Defense attorney Martin Gravis has contended that Deli is the less culpable of the two men. Trial begins May 7.
In January, both Taylor and Deli pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to first-degree murder and other charges filed against them.
In previous court hearings, witnesses testified that the two men were burglarizing the cabin and confronted the family when they returned from Christmas shopping. Taylor shot and killed Kay Tiede, 49, and Beth Potts, 76, less than three minutes after they had entered their cabin, Linae Tiede testified.
She said the killings were completely unprovoked, especially since both women told the men to take what they wanted.
The Utah State University student also testified that the men tied her up and spread gasoline throughout the cabin.
Rolf Tiede, 51, of Humble, Texas, said Deli robbed him at gunpoint as Taylor ordered Deli to kill Rolf Tiede. Although Deli pointed his gun at Rolf Tiede, Taylor was the one who pulled the trigger after becoming impatient with Deli, Rolf Tiede testified.
Rolf Tiede said he was shot twice in the head but played dead during the ordeal. Deli and Taylor then allegedly kidnapped Linae Tiede and her 16-year-old sister. They were arrested following a high-speed chase with police.