Manhattan Murder Suspect In Court On New Rape Charge

By: Lindsey Rogers Email
By: Lindsey Rogers Email

RILEY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- A Manhattan murder suspect was back in court Friday but this time, he went before the judge on a new rape charge.

Justin Taylor, 25, made his first appearance in Riley County District Court Friday afternoon by video conference from the jail. Judge David Stutzman conducted the hearing.

Cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom.

On Wednesday, February 22, 2012, Riley County authorities named Taylor the suspect in the 2010 rape of a 57-year-old woman in Manhattan. He was already in the Riley County Jail, charged in a 2011 murder case.

A Riley County Police Department issued Wednesday stated: "On 6/25/2010 at 1:10 a.m. officers from the Riley County Police Department were dispatched to the intersection of Denholm and Kimball in Manhattan, Riley County, Kansas for the report of a rape of a 57 year old female.The matter has been under investigation since that date. As a result of this investigation a suspect has been arrested by the Riley County Police Department and a charge of Rape, contrary to K.S.A. 21-3502(1)(A), was filed against Justin Charles Taylor (d.o.b. 12/29/1986) of Manhattan, Kansas on 2/22/2012 by the Riley County Attorney’s Office..."

At his first appearance Friday, Judge Stutzman appointed a member of the Public Defender's Office to represent Taylor in his rape case. Another hearing was set for March 6, 2012 at 1 PM.

Riley County police and prosecutors won't reveal what led them to charge Taylor with the sexual assault, saying only that their investigation has been ongoing since June of 2010 when it was reported.

Justin Taylor is also preparing to stand trial for murder this April, stemming from a deadly beating in Manhattan's Aggieville district last summer. He is being represented by Larry McRell, Chief Public Defender for the North Central Regional Public Defender's Office.

Taylor has pleaded not guilty to Intentional 2nd Degree Murder. He is charged in the death of 31-year-old Kevin Cockrum, a former Army combat medic, who was brutally beaten in Manhattan's Aggieville district in the early morning hours of August 11, 2011 and died from severe head injuries the next day.

Taylor was arrested and charged in the case the week after Cockrum died and has been in the Riley County Jail as the case has progressed in court. Prosecutors say Taylor struck Cockrum in the head with a Maglite flashlight during a confrontation in an alley.

Justin Taylor is being held in the Riley County Jail. His murder trial is set to start on April 10, 2012.


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