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Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Airman on trial in chase, shootout

By Vivi Hoang
Reporter-News Staff Writer

A Dyess airman’s chase and shootout with Abilene police in October was the finale in a chain reaction of unlawful activities that began in May 2001, prosecutors said in his court-martial Monday.

Angelo Errol Taylor Jr., 22, is charged with failure to obey an order, attempted murder, desertion, resisting arrest and unlawful action. Taylor pleaded not guilty to all five charges. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.

The court-martial began Monday at Dyess Air Force Base. Taylor’s defense attorneys have chosen to make their opening arguments later in the trial and declined to comment before then.

In April 2001, Taylor was temporarily stationed with his squadron in the Caribbean island of Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. Taylor served as a guidance and control systems mechanic with the 40th Airlift Squadron. Military officials warned airmen that a nearby brothel was strictly off-limits, testimony showed.

In late May, Taylor entered the establishment and hired a prostitute, prosecutors said. He grew enraged when asked to wear a condom, and attacked the woman, the prosecutors said.

Authorities accused Taylor of punching the woman in the face, hitting her head against a headboard and standing on her throat while saying, “I am going to kill you,” in Spanish. Several airmen testified they saw Taylor drinking the night of the alleged assault.

The investigator who looked into the attack testified the prostitute had several bruises on her neck, shoulder and chin. However, the investigating agent said that when she reviewed surveillance tapes of those who entered the brothel that night, none of the tapes showed Taylor.

Taylor was placed on administrative hold when he returned to Dyess in May. Five months later, he left the base intending never to return, prosecutors said.

“The accused had a frame of mind that nothing would bring him back,” said Capt. Joshua Kastenberg, one of the prosecutors. “He had the frame of mind that he would kill anyone who tried to bring him back.”

On Oct. 30, officers with the Abilene Police Department and Dyess’ Office of Special Investigations tried to arrest the senior airman, who had been absent without leave from the base for a week. Instead of surrendering, Taylor led the OSI and APD officers on a chase, and shot at them with a .38-caliber revolver, prosecutors said.

The two OSI officers were injured when their vehicle overturned.

At the end of the chase, Taylor exited his car with what testimony showed was a self-inflicted gunshot wound beneath his chin.

Contact public safety writer Vivi Hoang at 676-6736 or hoangv@reporternews.com


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