Suspect In Manhattan Rape, Murder Appears In Court

By: Lindsey Rogers Email
By: Lindsey Rogers Email

RILEY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- A Manhattan man facing charges in two separate violent attacks in the Little Apple was back in court Tuesday.

Justin Taylor, 25, appeared by video conference from the Riley County Jail in Magistrate Court before Judge William Malcolm Tuesday afternoon for a status hearing in a sexual assault case.

Last month, the Riley County Police Department named Taylor the suspect in the 2010 rape of a 57-year-old woman in Manhattan.

According to police documents, on 6/25/2010 at 1:10 AM, officers were dispatched to the intersection of Denholm Drive and Kimball Avenue for the report of a rape of a 57-year-old female.

An RCPD press release dated February 22, 2012 stated: “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 of Manhattan, Kansas on 2/22/2012 by the Riley County Attorney’s Office.”

Officials in the police department and Riley County Attorney’s Office will not say what new evidence led them to charge Taylor with the rape. No other details on the assault are being released. On Tuesday, prosecutors referred to the assault as a “stranger rape.”

Taylor was already behind bars when he was charged iwith rape. He’s been in the Riley County Jail since August of 2011, accused of killing 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. Cockrum died from severe head injuries the next day.

Justin Taylor was arrested and charged in the case the week after Cockrum died. He’s pleaded not guilty to Second Degree Murder.

Prosecutors say Taylor struck Kevin Cockrum twice in the head with a Maglite flashlight during an altercation in an alleyway.

Taylor’s attorney, Larry McRell, Chief Public Defender for the North Central Regional Public Defender's Office, has stated in court documents that Taylor acknowledges that he hit Cockrum with the flashlight but says the first punch was delivered by another man that was with Taylor during the incident. McRell says it was the first strike and the consequence of hitting his head when he fell to the pavement that resulted in Cockrum’s dearth.

Taylor’s murder trial is set to start on April 10th in Riley County District Court.

A preliminary hearing in his rape case has been set for April 20, 2012.

Taylor is being held in the Riley County Jail. His bond on the murder charge is $250,000 and the bond for the rape charge has been set at $100,000.


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