FARMINGTON -- Jill Allen's killer, George Anthony Taylor, detailed the last moments of Allen's life Wednesday in the trial of Paul Allen, Jill Allen's husband. Paul Allen is accused of paying Taylor to kill his wife.
Taylor said he was hiding in the north Salt Lake condo's hallway as Jill Allen returned home from work on Aug. 28, 1996. He had a gun in his left hand, while he punched her with his right, he said. She screamed and fought him, and they both fell to the floor."I got on top of her, showed her the pistol and told her not to scream. I couldn't shoot her, and I tried to hit her with the back of the gun to try to knock her unconscious. It didn't work, and I tried to strangle her with my hands."
That didn't work either, he said, so he took a bat from the condo's weight room and hit her on the head, knocking her unconscious. He then started to strangle her using a belt he found in the weight room, but she revived and again struggled against him before she finally died.
Taylor said he was two months behind on rent and had run up gambling debts when in April 1996 an acquaintance at work, Joseph Sergious Wright, told him that Paul Allen would pay him $10,000 to kill Jill Allen. He testified that he went to the Allen's condo several times between then and August but could not bring himself to follow through with the slaying as planned -- shooting her in the condo complex's parking lot.
Taylor said that roughly one day before the murder, he received a key to the Allen's condo from Wright. He asked Wright how he had come by the key. "He said it was from Paul," Taylor said.
On Monday, prosecutors presented an Aug. 26, 1996, debit card receipt for a copied key found in Allen's home. Defense attorney Ron Yengich has said he has a "reasonable explanation" for the transaction but hasn't yet revealed it in the trial.
Taylor said he saw Jill Allen's mother on television several times after the slaying, asking for help in solving her daughter's murder. Taylor said he eventually told authorities everything because, "first and foremost, I wanted to give some answers to Jill's family. . . . I felt that was the least that I could do to help them, not to mention the guilt that was wreaking havoc on my inner peace."
Paul Allen, 30, is on trial for capital murder as well as conspiracy and criminal solicitation, both first-degree felonies, for allegedly arranging the murder of his wife so he could cash in a $250,000 life insurance policy.
During cross examination of Taylor on Wednesday, Yengich challenged Taylor's knowledge of Paul Allen's involvement in the murder plot.
Taylor acknowledged that Wright often lied to him, and Paul Allen never spoke to him personally about killing Jill Allen. Wright always told Taylor the murder "was done for Paul," Taylor said.
"You think that because you have to base everything you did on what Joey Wright told you," Yengich shot back, before taking his seat.
Taylor was charged with capital murder, but prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty to murder, a first-degree felony. Instead of the death penalty or life in prison without parole, which are possible sentences for a capital murder conviction. Taylor was given a five-years-to-life prison sentence in July 1998.
Wright was to testify Thursday morning.
After his arrest, Wright made a deal with police to testify against Paul Allen in exchange for a reduced sentence and immunity for his wife, Jennifer, who had taken part in the planning of Jill Allen's murder.
Wright was charged with capital murder, but prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty to murder, a first-degree felony. Wright is serving two zero-to-five-year prison terms.
Jennifer Wright was scheduled to take the stand Thursday afternoon.