RIPLEY, W.Va. — Closing arguments are expected Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court in the murder trial of Benjamin Taylor.
Taylor, 33, of Cottageville, allegedly sexually assaulted 10-month-old Emmaleigh Barringer in October 2016 causing her death a few days later.
He took the stand in his own defense Monday afternoon.
Taylor told the 12-member jury he remembers taking Emmaleigh downstairs that fall night because she wasn’t ready to go to bed. He said he was going to do laundry. He said he had been drinking for several hours and passed out. He said he woke up when he heard Emmaleigh.
“I hear her gurgling and I kind of snap, go to her and breathe in her mouth twice,” Taylor said.
He said a few moments later the girl’s mother, his girlfriend at the time, Amanda Adkins, came down the steps.
“Amanda was close to me or coming down the stairs, I can’t really remember. I pull the blanket back and see blood and I jump up and I tell Amanda I didn’t molest her,” Taylor said.
Adkins testified earlier in the trial that she saw Taylor over her daughter.
Taylor said several times he couldn’t remember a lot of details about what happened that night.
“I picked her up and handed her to Amanda and told her to go call the cops. I pretty much go blank after that,” Taylor said.
When asked by Jackson County Prosecutor Katie Franklin under cross-examination if was he denying the sexual assault Taylor said he couldn’t.
“I don’t know how I could deny it if I don’t remember,” Taylor said. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable denying it.”
Taylor says he had been drinking for several hours at this point. He could feel that he was intoxicated while he was doing laundry. Says he walked outside of the basement door a few times to smoke. At some point he knows he blacked out.
— Leanne Shinkle (@WSAZLeanneS) March 18, 2019
He also said someone could have entered the backdoor of the apartment and committed the crime.
Franklin also questioned Taylor about some of his previous social media posts about violent sex.
Several witnesses earlier in the day Monday took the stand to speak of Taylor’s character. Most of them were friends and family members. They said the person they know couldn’t have committed the crime he’s accused of committing.
Jury instructions and closing arguments are anticipated Tuesday.