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Denton man gets 33 years in prison

Profile image for By Megan Gray
By Megan Gray

A Denton County jury sentenced a Denton man to 33 years in prison after he was found guilty of raping an employee of an area motel in August 2009.

Marvin E. Taylor, 27, was found guilty on three counts of aggravated sexual assault by a jury in Judge L. Dee Shipman’s 211th District Court in mid-January before the trial was placed on hold while new evidence was investigated by his defense team.

“Some new evidence was found that we felt strongly about,” said Gina Smith, of the Dallas-based law firm Gina Smith and Associates, representing Taylor. “This discovery was a big deal and I worked to get the trial thrown out so we could present the new evidence I had.”

According to court records, Smith filed a motion Jan. 22 to declare a mistrial but the motion was denied.

Taylor was then sentenced last week to 33 years in prison on the three counts of aggravated sexual assault. He was also sentenced to 15 years in the county jail for aggravated assault that caused bodily injury, court records show.

Jamie Beck, first assistant district attorney for the Denton County District Attorney’s Office, said this was a stranger-on-stranger rape case that sat cold until Taylor committed another offense.

“He got into a bar fight and punched a guy,” she said. “That incident landed him on felony probation [and] a condition of that probation was that he submit a sample of his DNA to be put into the [federal] system.”

Records obtained from the Denton Police Department show that the victim was a motel maid who said she was sexually assaulted after being locked in a laundry room with a hunting knife held to her throat. The woman told police she cleaned the rooms and walked to work every day, and believed that she had been followed to the motel in the 1100 block of East University Drive.

Police collected DNA evidence from the assault and submitted it into a national data base but did not find a match. Two years later, a call from the Texas Department of Public Safety indicated it had a match.

Taylor had been arrested in November 2010 on a warrant for the unrelated aggravated assault involving the bar fight. In August 2011, he received deferred adjudication in that case, meaning that the charges would have been dropped if he had completed the probationary term without incident. Instead, the DNA sample linked him to the 2009 rape.

“We were thrilled to finally give the victim the justice that she deserved,” Beck said via e-mail after the jury handed down Taylor’s sentence.

Smith said she and co-counsel Virgina Taborn felt the case was full of strong political sentiment and not focused on the facts.

“He had three or four lawyers before us and nothing was getting done as he just sat in jail for three years,” Smith said.

She said her firm will ensure that the proper paperwork is filed for an appeal and assist any way they can so their client can continue his fight.