A jury charged with deciding whether a man should die for killing two women watched a homemade video of the killer that was taken inside the cabin where the murders occurred.
The videotape was recorded sometime after Von L. Taylor, 26, and Edward S. Deli, 22, broke into a Summit County cabin on Dec. 21 but before the family returned to find them waiting there.Deli used a video camera found inside the Rolf Tiede cabin to photograph Taylor as he opened up Christmas presents the Tiedes had wrapped and placed under a Christmas tree. The two seemed almost jovial as they talked about the gifts, particularly an album full of baseball and football cards.
"Elway, Marino, where's Simms? Ah yeah! My boy!" Deli could be heard to say as Taylor held the book up to the camera. "Where's Bird? That's my boy, too!"
Taylor's attorney, Elliott Levine, objected to the jury's seeing the videotape, saying it had no relevance. But Summit County Attorney Robert Adkins successfully argued that the tape was revealing of the duo's character.
"The tape shows a plan, motive, scheme and design by Taylor and Deli that, at a minimum, was to rob the Tiede family," he said.
"It shows it was not the standard burglary where the burglar gets in and out as soon as possible." Adkins said both men are shown at ease inside the Tiede home and are not at all nervous as typical burglars might be. "The evidence will show that Mr. Taylor and Deli were waiting for the Tiede family," said deputy county attorney Terry Christiansen.
The prosecution also told the seven-man, five-woman jury that Taylor is a cold-blooded man who killed two women without any provocation.
"The evidence will show that Mr. Taylor and Mr. Deli have no sympathy, they have no regret, they have no remorse," Christiansen said.
The prosecutor explained how the two men shot and killed Kaye Tiede, 49, and Beth Potts, 76, less than three minutes after the women returned to their cabin. He said Taylor later said to Deli, "I had to shoot the bitch twice in the head."
Said Christiansen: "This is the type of remorse Mr. Taylor exhibited that morning."
The two also tied up and gagged Tiede's daughter Linae, shot and robbed Rolf Tiede, poured gasoline over what they thought was his dead body and kidnapped Linae and her sister, Christiansen said.
Levine, Taylor's attorney, admitted that the crimes were heinous but said Taylor willingly came forward and pleaded guilty to the murders and is willing to accept the consequences. But he said Taylor is not a deserving candidate for the death penalty and asked the jury to convict him of life in prison.
"Mr. Taylor in no way shape or form denies that the murders occurred in an unprovoked manner," he said. "But the attitudes of the individuals involved in this crime are totally different."
He told the jury that it is not their job to avenge the death of the two women. He reminded them that they were instructed to use two different tests to decide Taylor's fate. The first criterion is whether the aggravating circumstances of the murders outweigh the mitigating circumstances. If the jury believes so, then they must decide whether the death penalty is appropriate.
"When you look at the totality of the circumstances . . . you'll see why this is not an appropriate case for the death penalty," he said.
The defense attorney said he plans to put death row inmate James Holland on the stand and show why he is "a perfect example for the death penalty. His testimony will show why he's a candidate and Taylor isn't," he said.
Linae Tiede recounted the 11/2-hour ordeal she went through on Dec. 22 when she witnessed the deaths of her mother and grandmother. She said Taylor was cool and collected throughout.
"He acted calm, just like he knew what he was doing, just like it was a regular day," she said.
After the duo had kidnapped her and her sister and were driving away in the family's automobile, she said Taylor hinted at other murders. "Mr. Taylor made the comment that he had too many murders behind him to stop now . . . ," she said.
"He said every time he did it, it messed with his (head)," she said.
Testimony in the penalty phase hearing will continue Tuesday morning.