Attorneys say Ann G. Taylor probably won't have to spend any time in prison despite being convicted of kidnapping her estranged husband, John Max Taylor, but his relatives say the defendant at least needs to spend time in jail to teach her a lesson.
After more than seven hours of deliberations stretching over two days, a jury Wednesday found Mrs. Taylor, 58, guilty of second-degree felony kidnapping in the July 16, 1987, abduction of her husband.According to court testimony, Taylor, 80, was abducted from a Provo clinic after he failed to return to his wife in New York following what was supposed to be only a two-week visit with his sister in July 1986.
Mrs. Taylor's legal efforts to gain custody of her husband and stem divorce proceedings failed.
Mrs. Taylor, who will be sentenced Monday at 10 a.m., faces a possible maximum sentence of one to 15 years in the state prison. Immediately after hearing the verdict, she requested that 4th District Judge J. Robert Bullock immediately sentence her.
"Your honor, I have full confidence in your ability to make a fair and just decision," she said. Bullock, however, set sentencing for Monday.
"It may be that I'll continue it further at that time," he said. Bullock asked Mrs. Taylor to consider a presentence investigation and recommendation by Adult Probation and Parole.
Public defender Gary Weight said he was disappointed by the verdict.
"My argument is . . . that she did not commit a crime. She never had a criminal intent. And her husband was never held (by her) against his will. I think we demonstrated that to the jury. And I don't know what impressed them, but I think their conclusion is wrong."
Weight said he is confident Mrs. Taylor will be placed on probation and will not have to spend any time in jail or prison.
Taylor said her conscience is clear because "I've done everything I could for the man I love, to rescue him from a terrible situation. I think that the sanctity of marriage . . . was on trial here, and I think that marriage lost. Being married for 25 years apparently means nothing in Provo, Utah."
Prosecuting attorney Charlene Barlow, though pleased with the verdict, said the state will not recommend prison time.
"I don't see that Ann's going to go to prison. She has no prior record that we are aware of," she said. "The judge has left it to us to think about what kind of recommendations we're going to make."
If a recommendation is made for jail time, Barlow said, it will be minimal.
"Hopefully, Mrs. Taylor has learned that this is not appropriate behavior, and that when things don't go her way, she doesn't just take the law into her own hands. The purpose of jail is to teach people a lesson. And I don't know but what the verdict has done that to a certain extent already."
Relatives of Taylor, however, said they want to see Mrs. Taylor go to jail.
"I would like to have her spend some time in jail," said Taylor's sister, Norma Gardner. "We're not vindictive about it, but she needs something to wake her up. He (John) does not want to see her. He does not want to be with her."
Added Frank Gardner, Taylor's brother-in-law: "If he wanted to see her, he could see her at any time. There's no restriction. He doesn't want to see her. He's made that very plain."
Mrs. Taylor stands by her testimony Tuesday that her estranged husband is being held by family members against his will.
"The things they've done to him are unbelievable. I never did kidnap my husband. I rescued him with the help of some people. He came with me willingly," she said.
"The only thing I regret is that John has been held prisoner for two years, and he will continue to be held prisoner. Nobody is doing anything to rescue him, and that saddens me. He has no joy, he has no love, and he's essentially waiting to die. It's very, very sad."