New charges filed; domestic trial delayed

A jury trial slated to start this month for a 63-year-old man suspected of domestic violence was delayed Tuesday, after new charges were filed in the case.

Moments before a readiness hearing was to start at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7, a Montezuma County Sheriff’s deputy rushed into the courtroom to deliver a warrant request. After a 20-minute recess, District Court Judge Todd Plewe agreed to authorize the arrest warrant against convicted felon James Taylor, 63, of County Road G.2.

“This is a serious allegation,” Plewe said.

District Attorney Will Furse said the warrant was issued after Taylor allegedly violated a protection order Jan. 3, when he approached the 43-year-old victim at a local soup kitchen.

Out of custody on a $50,000 bond, Taylor is monitored by a GPS system with instructions not to go within 100 yards of the victim.

Public defender Amy Smith argued against the warrant, citing “serious disbelief” of the alleged bond violation. Smith said a law enforcement witness that led to the new charges was not at the soup kitchen on the day in question.

Following the proceedings, Taylor was held without bond until a hearing could be held on Thursday, after press deadlines.

During the 20-minute recess on Tuesday, Taylor spoke momentarily with the Montezuma County deputy, who rushed in with the warrant request. Neither the judge nor Taylor’s attorney was in the courtroom during the brief chat.

Taylor was arrested June 27 and charged with assault to cause injury with a deadly weapon, felony menacing, false imprisonment, violent crime with a weapon and three counts as a habitual offender.

A Native American woman alleges Taylor repeatedly punched her in the face and hit her in the head with a baseball bat during the incident.

Also on Tuesday, Plewe granted a prosecution request to delay the Jan. 21 jury trial. Furse argued he had yet to receive a summary report from defense counsel on an expert witness. The defense expert is expected to offer testimony about the physical and mental consequences of using inhalants.

Furse said he believes the defense intends to argue that the victim routinely huffs gasoline, and he wants more time to investigate the credibility of the defense’s expert witness.

The jury trial, expected to last five days, was subsequently delayed until March 17.

Taylor’s previous convictions date back to 1969, and include felony theft by receiving, distribution of a controlled substance and felony bail bond violations.