Testifying with a box of tissue sitting next to her, the mother of murder victim Charla N. King wiped tears from her face as she told a judge about finding her daughter's nude, lifeless body in her Washington Terrace apartment on June 23.
Sharon King was the first witness to testify Monday during the first-degree murder trial of John Albert Taylor, 30, Ogden. The case is being heard by 2nd District Judge David Roth because Taylor waived his right to a jury trial.If convicted of the capital murder charge, Taylor could be sentenced to die. It's been 40 years since a Weber County judge or jury sent a murderer to death row.
Taylor was arrested on June 28 after fingerprints found on a telephone in the victim's apartment were matched to those of the defendant.
During opening statements, defense attorney Don Redd said that Taylor will testify on his own behalf and admit to being in the victim's apartment.
But Redd said that Taylor was inside the apartment to commit a burglary when no one was at home, and that Taylor left his fingerprints on the telephone then. Redd said that Taylor did not kill the 11-year-old girl.
Deputy Weber County Attorney William Daines told Roth that Taylor has repeatedly denied being inside the apartment and noted that two witnesses saw Taylor near the murdered girl's apartment around the time the girl was killed.
Sharon King said that she got home from work about 3:20 p.m., turned on the television set to watch a soap opera and then walked into her bedroom where she found her daughter with a nightgown wrapped around her head and a pair of panties stuffed in her mouth.
"I started screaming," King said.
She said she ran to a neighbor to get help and then called police. She was instructed to administer CPR.
Occasionally looking at Taylor, King said she tilted her daughter's head back and that's when she discovered a telephone cord wrapped around Charla's neck.
Charla King's foster grandmother, Bertha Porter, testified that she was probably the last person to see the victim alive.
She said that on June 23, she and Charla went to the mall together and talked about the birthday celebration at a local amusement park set the next day. Charla would have been 12 years old on June 24.
Porter said that she took Charla back home around 1:30 p.m. on June 23.
Washington Terrace Police Officer Marsha Gathercole testified that on June 25 she received a telephone call from a woman who said she had some evidence connected to the murder that she wanted to turn over to police.